GEPP (Northern Victoria) (10:05): Yet another Andrews Labor government budget has been delivered and yet another groundbreaking, nation-leading announcement made on a topic known only too well to many in the rural and regional communities of Northern Victoria Region: insecure work. Regrettably, COVID-19 has exposed the insidious nature of insecure work: people having to choose between going to work when sick or a day’s pay. A secure work pilot scheme has been announced, providing up to five days of sick and carers pay at the national minimum wage for casual or insecure workers in priority industries, which will be a game changer for northern Victorian workers in certain sectors with high rates of casualisation amongst cleaners, hospitality staff, security guards, supermarket workers and aged-care staff, just to name a few. As anyone with even a remote understanding of rural and regional employment knows, it is those industries, those sectors, that are the key employers in my electorate of Northern Victoria often because it is the only show in town and people do not have a choice.
This budget will provide $5 million for consultation on the design of the pilot scheme, with consultation involving business, unions and the community. All the time in Northern Victoria, on farms and at trades and labour councils and throughout my travels, the future of work in these communities is always raised. Like so many initiatives of the Andrews government, I can look those people in the eye now and tell them that we have listened and that we are now acting. So to the aged-care nurse from Sea Lake to the security guard in Echuca, the supermarket worker in Kyabram to the school cleaner in Cobram, the Andrews government cares about you, your family and your wellbeing.