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Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Page: 3297

Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (13:39): Labor supported the introduction of JobKeeper not because it was perfect but because it was absolutely crucial. We all witnessed the queues snaking around our communities. I'm next to a Centrelink, and for days people just stood patiently in that line, occasionally knocking on my office door—because we had to close it due to COVID—and certainly ringing us. It has been an incredible time, and seeing those people queuing is something that I think none of us ever thought we would see. My father used to tell me stories about the divvy lines in the Depression. I'm sure that if he were alive today he would have been so sad to see those lines.

JobKeeper is far from perfect, and my office has been flooded with calls from people—employers and employees—who are very confused. Some are casuals, like Melissa's daughter, who was hired as a casual beautician on 2 March last year. She missed out by one arbitrary day. Sole traders have been falling through the cracks. They feel forgotten. Angela from my electorate has had a really tough year. The summer bushfires pretty much wiped out her photography business, and she got a permanent part-time job. Then COVID absolutely killed her business, and she found out from the ATO that she couldn't get JobKeeper, because of her one-day-a-week job. Times are tough. We really need to keep our eye on the ball with this. (Time expired)