Dear IPA Members
The unemployment crisis unleashed by government-imposed lockdowns is truly a human tragedy. Over 5 million of Australia’s population of 25 million are now on the unemployment benefit or receiving the JobKeeper wage subsidy, countless more have had either their wages or hours cut, and thousands of businesses have been forcibly shut down.
With so many Australians out of work and businesses struggling to survive, the IPA’s Dignity of Work Project and our work to cut red tape are more important than ever. The IPA’s Director of Policy, Gideon Rozner, has just finished a new video to be released tomorrow that calls on governments to lift restrictions on borders and workplaces so that Australia can get back to work.
The full extent of the folly of ‘hibernating’ the economy is beginning to be revealed. As Gideon says in his video, mainstream Australians have been punished by out-of-touch politicians and bureaucrats who “have no idea about the productive economy, and who think that small businesses can simply shut, and open, and then shut again”.
The tragic reality is that many small businesses are simply not coming back when the restrictions come to an end. The years of work and capital invested by small business owners will be consumed by the lockdown and the entrepreneurial drive that led individuals to take on the challenge of starting their own business will be severely damaged.
The dignity of work and the health of small business needs to be front and centre in the public debate. The IPA has consistently made the case for the importance of work in providing not just material benefits, but the dignity and purpose work provides that make our lives meaningful. Small business plays a crucial role in providing the dignity of work through the employment of over 40% of the workforce as well as functioning as the lifeblood of local communities. By decimating small businesses, the lockdown has destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs and undermined an important vehicle for job creation that will be crucial in the recovery.
From early on in this crisis, the IPA has often been a lone voice drawing attention to the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have been prevented from operating their businesses, and those who are no longer able to experience the dignity of work and provide for their families.
The IPA’s video We Want to Work, released last month, represented the concerns of mainstream Australians. In the video, Julia, a young food and beverage attendant and barista from Melbourne who had her contract terminated as a result of lockdown, spoke about the importance of being able to get back on with our lives, the importance of work in providing a reason to get up in the morning, and impact of the lockdowns on small business.
To read the rest of Kurt Wallace’s letter to IPA Members, become an IPA Member today.