The Greens have laid the blame for Brisbane’s three-day COVID lockdown at the Morrison government’s door, saying its failure to ensure all frontline healthcare workers are vaccinated has triggered a necessary public health response that will damage already struggling businesses and force more workers into unemployment.
The more than 130,000 people currently receiving JobSeeker in Brisbane will have their safety net slashed to below the poverty line on Thursday after the Coalition and Labor refused to support the Greens’ proposal for an $80 a day payment.
Queensland Senator and Greens leader in the Senate Larissa Waters said:
“The people of Brisbane and Queensland can thank the Morrison government for this lockdown.
“The PM promised us that four million Australians would be vaccinated by early April. But with two days until April less than 15% of that number - 550,000 people - have received a dose. In Queensland that number is only 65,000.
“The PM must explain why there are still unvaccinated frontline healthcare workers treating COVID patients in Queensland hospitals.
“Not only has this government failed the people of Queensland and Australia with its flawed vaccine rollout, it’s abandoned businesses and workers by pulling away the safety nets that have allowed hundreds of thousands to remain employed and kept millions above the poverty line.
“By ending JobKeeper the government consigned 150,000 to unemployment nationally, right at the time when the JobSeeker unemployment benefit is being slashed to $43.57 a day. The Brisbane lockdown will guarantee that more people will be forced out of work and into poverty.
“It’s unconscionable that this government can leave thousands of businesses and millions of workers to fend for themselves knowing full well that their failure to bring COVID under control leaves them vulnerable.”