The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating, and will likely be generational. Among other things the pandemic has highlighted once again the power and security of stable employment, while also highlighting the insecurity and lack of stability offered in many jobs and industries. It doesn’t need to be this way. As we work towards emerging from this pandemic, South Australians deserve new hope and opportunity. We have all been reassessing what work should and can look like over the past year, and if we are satisfied with its nature at present. The past year has made it quite clear that normal was not working. It was not working for every day South Australians, it was not working for our economy, it was not working for our society, and it most certainly was not working for the environment. We have the option now to do things differently.
We continue to face the crises of inequality and of climate change in South Australia, and while a Jobs Guarantee is not a silver bullet it is an important tool that we have for addressing these issues.
We can pay people to care for their communities and for their environment, to learn new skills while doing so or to finally have the opportunity to use the skills they already have. We can invest in repairing our landscape, in better preparing for bushfires. We can fill much needed positions in the health services, aged care and disability sectors. In short, we can look after each other. There is a wealth of opportunity in our state to connect the untapped potential of people with the unmet needs of the community. A jobs guarantee would - and has in the past - ensure that there is meaningful work for anyone who wants it.
This is why the Greens are calling for an inquiry into a Jobs Guarantee for South Australia, so that the Government and our State can examine in detail how a Jobs Guarantee could work in South Australia and the benefits it would bring.
model public sector
The Greens firmly believe that the public sector is best placed to respond to changing social, environmental and economic circumstances, and to enhance society’s capacity to pursue important goals such as justice, equity and sustainable environmental objectives as well as community services obligations. The public sector should be well resourced, both in its finances and the people it employs, to enable the delivery of quality services to the community. There is no doubt that the public sector and public sector workers are the lifeblood of Government and administration, and that Government could not function without them. A frank and fearless public service is critical to a functioning democracy.
We believe that the Government should lead by example in providing a modern workplace that helps people maintain a work-life balance. Workplace laws – and the public sector as a model employer – should ensure people have a secure job, a good balance between working, personal and family life, and protect people’s rights at work. We want to reduce casualisation, contract employment, and other forms of insecure work in the workforce and believe that the Government needs to lead by example by providing stable and secure work in the public sector.
The Greens will:
|▲||Legislate for a Public Sector Equality Duty to require public authorities to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisaition and advance equality of opportunity|
|▲||Allow SA public servants, wherever possible, to access working from home arrangements|
|▲||Allow SA public servants, wherever possible, access to a 4 day work week, or reduced hours|
|▲||Support the private and community sectors to offer similar flexible working arrangements|
|▲||Reduce casualisation, contract employment, and other forms of insecure work in the public sector and create pathways to more secure, long-term work|
Fair, Safe, and Secure Work
Everyone deserves safe and secure work. We view work as something which should be rewarding, enriching, and the basis of our families’, communities’, and state’s welfare and prosperity. South Australia must have a fair and equitable industrial relations system for all workers. Workers deserve work laws which provide them with the protections, rights and responsibilities that come with a just and sustainable society. We believe that workplaces should provide better work-life balance, with people having more control over their working arrangements and options for flexible working practices, balanced against the legitimate operational needs of the employer.
We know South Australia faces the highest rate of insecure work in mainland Australia and the lowest average hourly wage in the nation. This is shameful. We need to ensure that South Australians have pathways to more secure and better paying work, and that provides them with their well-deserved entitlements. The Greens believe that everyone should have access to portable long service leave, and want to amend legislation to make this possible. This is essential as we recognise that increasingly people are more likely to work for multiple employers during their working lives.
The Greens will make workplaces fairer and safer, and ensure people have more secure work. We will:
|▲||Legislate to establish a positive duty for employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace|
|▲||Amend the long service leave Act so that everyone has access to portable long service leave|
|▲||Expand leave provisions and entitlements to allow for paid leave for foster caring, surrogacy, kinship care and escaping domestic/family violence.|
|▲||Ensure a just transition, including access to training, for workers in carbon-intensive industries as we shift to a low/net zero greenhouse gas emitting economy|
|▲||Amend the Return to Work Act to ensure that we have a universal workers compensation scheme that provides protection for workers injured at work and ensures fair compensation for any ongoing loss of income, permanent impairment, and pain and suffering together with lifetime cover for reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Our changes would:
|▲||Make industrial manslaughter a crime|
|▲||Develop and implement strategies to improve the employment of older people including promoting the skills and life experiences of older workers to the business community, and supporter older people to take up re-skilling and education opportunities|
|▲||Implementing and supporting tailored programs to improve training and employment opportunities for young people, Indigenous South Australians, and the long-term unemployed|
|▲||Implement and report on evidence-based strategies to improve female participation in the workforce and achieve gender equity in terms of wages, entitlements and career progression|
|▲||Review the content of South Australian equal opportunity laws to ensure best practice in terms of scope of protection and practical implementation|
A Co-operative SA
Embracing new co-operative ways of owning and organising economic activity is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the South Australian economy. South Australia already has a rich co-operative history, and we should be building upon it to secure our future economic and social prosperity. By investing in and supporting locally owned co-operative and mutual enterprises we add diversity into our local economy, and can develop South Australia into an entrepreneurial and community wealth-building state. This not only benefits us economically but improves the wellbeing of individuals and builds resilient communities.
Co-operatives are a democratic business model, where workers and other members decide what to do with the value they create. They benefit our community as more value is distributed in the community in most cases, through higher wages and local purchasing. Co-operatives also tend to be more productive as there is a far higher level of engagement from workers in their business. Importantly, history has also shown us that co-operatives and mutuals are here for the long haul - both during good times and hard times. We need that kind of stability in our work and in our economy now more than ever.
The Greens believe that we can shift our economy, and our businesses and workforce, towards a more caring and community-focused model. Encouraging more co-operatives in South Australia is an excellent way to do this.
The Greens will:
|▲||Allocate $10 million for interest free seed funding loans for the formation of co-operatives or the transformation of businesses into co-operatives|
|▲||Employ full time staff through the Department of Innovation and Skills to help advise and support the establishment and development of co-operatives|
|▲||Require worker and consumer representation on the board of every SA State owned corporation or Government business|
|▲||Investigate mechanisms to support businesses and workers to transition into co-operative ownership of a business|
|▲||Incentivise community buy-outs of declining key services in rural and regional areas|
|▲||Adopt a social procurement policy at the state government level|
|▲||Develop a social enterprise, and co-operative and mutual enterprise strategy and action plan based on broad-based consultation|
|▲||Commission a report on corporate diversity in South Australia to determine the opportunities to strengthen a home-grown economy by supporting different business structures|
|▲||Establish a taskforce to consider how empowering public service workers through mutual ownership, mutual governance and employee ownership structures could improve the provision of public service delivery|
|▲||Work with peak bodies such as the Business Council for Co-operatives and Mutuals and Employee Ownership Australia in shaping legislative and policy support for co-operatives and mutual enterprises|