Contributed by Jim Hayes
In the light of a deteriorating jobs situation across Australia, marked by a continuation of jobs and hours of work lost, the deepening cost of living crisis is imposing ever increasing hardship on most of Australia.
In the misleading seasonally adjusted figure, 15,000 jobs were lost in the last quarter. Official figures kept the unemployment rate at 6.1 percent. This doesn’t consider that a growing proportion of jobs are casualised and part-time. If it did, the unemployment rate would be much higher.
Working people and the economy need a focus on achieving real full employment. This needs a plan, and a good place to start would be the coming May Federal Budget. And this must incorporate job security and reversal of the casualisation of work.
The plan must involve initiatives to develop new industries that drive the economy forwards provide jobs.
Although the Albanese government has promised to bring this sort of change, it hasn’t shifted from political speak to a definite plan, and there is no guarantee that it will do so soon. It still needs to be pushed for by the union movement and wider community. It is no use expecting the government to deliver and just sitting on the side lines.
Jobs can’t be dealt with without taking on the cost-of-living crisis as well. Part of it is rising inflation. At the end of last year, it stood at 7.8 percent. Like job losses, this is also under-estimated by the method of calculation used. Nevertheless, the figure given is enough to worry about.
The price of necessities is going up. While this is bad enough in itself, behind this are swollen asset prices and mounting debt. It is these that transfer into increases the prices of what we consume. This is not going to change until this is recognised and action taken to impose control over the cost of housing, and the manipulation of share prices bonds via monopoly power and government assistance.
Above all, this means imposing appropriate controls over the finance industry, ending government for the wealthiest, and bringing in service to the people as the priority. It means an end to shifting national income upwards to the few percent at the top and shifting it downward. Wage growth remains static, and this must come to an end. A more equal sharing of the nation’s income will only bring greater fairness. It will help to build the economy.
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