WHEN: 9 am Monday 10 October 2022
WHERE: United Workers Union Parramatta Office – 19 Argyle Street, Parramatta, NSW
WHAT: Launch of a new report by United Workers Union and the Australian Catholic University: “COVID-19’s Lasting Impacts on Workers – How Government Mismanagement Changed Working Lives in Western Sydney.”
WHO: Impacted workers will speak at the launch. Mel Gatfield, United Workers Union State Secretary, Dr Tom Barnes from Australian Catholic University, Federal MP for Parramatta Andrew Charlton, NSW Opposition Leader Chris Minns and NSW Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Sophie Cotsis will be available for comment.
United Workers Union and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) will launch a report into the impact of COVID lockdowns on essential workers in Western Sydney during the Delta wave in late 2021.
Federal MP for Parramatta Andrew Charlton, NSW Opposition Leader Chris Minns and NSW Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Sophie Cotsis will launch the report, with Dr Tom Barnes from Australian Catholic University and Mel Gatfield, United Workers Union State Secretary.
The report found Liberal government bungles during the COVID pandemic have created a lasting impact on essential workers – from lost careers to reduced incomes, gaps in education, the loss of connection with loved ones, and greater exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.
Policies which eased the burden of the crisis in 2020, such as JobKeeper and the Coronavirus Supplement (which temporarily doubled the rate of JobSeeker for the unemployed), were largely absent during the Delta wave. Government protection was significantly less comprehensive.
The crisis was worsened by the response of the NSW Government, which treated people in less affluent, working-class suburbs of Sydney very differently to people elsewhere. The Government imposed the harshest restrictions onto residents of ‘Local Government Areas (LGAs) of concern’.
All but two of the 12 LGAs of concern were in Western Sydney, where the highest proportion of essential workers lived and worked. Most of these workers lacked the option of working remotely or working from home, but these are the workers who kept Sydney functioning during the crisis.
“[Every] street you [drove] down, there was police. [It] did feel terrible; we had curfews and had to be in by 9 o’clock and couldn’t go out.” (Paula, homecare, Parramatta LGA)
“[We] found the politics about shutting down Canterbury-Bankstown [LGA] was particularly hard. I know I felt discriminated against. Lots of the families are [tradespeople]. They’re people that can’t work from home. They are people that have to leave their homes to go to work… I found that my neighbours were really labelled as people that weren’t doing the right thing [because they’re] from another part of the world.” (Marie, ECEC, Canterbury-Bankstown LGA)
United Workers Union: 1300 898 633, [email protected]
Australian Catholic University: Louise Crossen, 0477 675 772, [email protected]