Shadow Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP says Australians deserve a “better normal” for the sacrifices made during the pandemic including jobs “that are secure with decent pay and conditions”.
Speaking to On the Job with Francis Leach & Sally Rugg, Plibersek shared part of her vision for a post-pandemic recovery, acknowledging that not everything can be blamed on COVID-19. “Even before the pandemic hit, we had historic low wages growth. We had rising insecurity in the workplace and low consumer confidence”, she explained.
“Of course, the pandemic and the recession that’s come from that has exacerbated that insecurity and low pay, but insecurity and low pay was already a feature of our economy”.
Ideas to mend these pre-existing fractures in our economy and rebuild a fairer Australia features in Plibersek’s new book, Upturn: A better normal after COVID-19. The anthology compiles contributions from Australia’s boldest thinkers, including experts in business, education, Indigenous affairs and science.
It’s clear that for Plibersek, the pandemic presents an opportunity to learn and grow and has left her with a sense of hope for what comes next, especially for Australian workers.
“Haven’t we finally learned that the jobs that people are doing in caring professions are frontline and they’re vital?”, she asked.
“Haven’t we learnt that these people are absolutely vital to how our economy operates and shouldn’t we be looking after people a little bit better when they are so important to our collective success as a nation?
“I’m hopeful because [the pandemic] has made people reconsider what vital services look like and who’s doing that and I hope, more open to properly paying the people who do that work too”.