25 March 2020

The last press release on the latest round of measures from the PM’s office on 24/03/2020 can be viewed here.

In summary:

  • National Cabinet will meet again tonight
  • Rent is a key topic, with concerns about business and individuals being evicted for non-payment
  • United Workers Union has done a deal with the AHA to help hospitality industry (to cut minimum hours requirements, suspend rules on job classifications, relax rules on when staff can be directed to take leave)
  • Speculation that a major mental health package will be coming
  • Parliament could potentially sit by videoconference, Government and ALP have agreed.
  • Pay freeze for top public servants and staffers
  • Govt are fast-track reviewing Singapore App TraceTogether, an opt-in BlueTooth tracer of personal physical contact (to overcome people’s faulty memories)
  • There are lots of border issues within Australia – freight etc
  • There is increasing speculation about the future of guest worker schemes (how sustainable they are if there is mass unemployment)
  • Super funds, concerned about large scale ‘hardship withdrawals’, are looking for government underwriting of liquidity
  • Unemployment is an enormous issue. Centrelink capacity/eligibility are issues of the moment, but will shape the political landscape for a long time to come.