yes and …
The Federal Government’s commitment to double the job seeker payments is very welcome. We recognise that under trying circumstances they have acted substantially and quickly. The main implication of this announcement for the Jobs and Food Rescue Plan is that it alleviates the need for the smart card.
We welcome the support for people who will become unemployed during this crisis. However, we believe that keeping people in work by repurposing kitchens and redeploying staff to meet the emerging needs during the pandemic is the preferred path. Essentially, using existing infrastructure to meet community needs.
Urgent attention therefore needs to be given to designing responses that utilise the existing hospitality infrastructure for these unprecedented times. In particular, the meal preparation and delivery systems will need to expand to cope with the rapidly growing need to supply food to people in quarantine and isolation. Cafe’s, restaurants, catering and events businesses and venues are closing as I write and as you read. There is no time to waste.
On March 22nd, the State Government announced support for food relief packages to be coordinated by the Red Cross in partnership with Foodbank Victoria. Alongside this welcome initiative, we will seek to work through our network to advocate for the use of the State Government Funds (Business Support Fund – $500M and Working for Victoria Fund – $500M) to be allocated to save existing hospitality jobs by supporting redeployment and repurposing initiatives.