The Victorian Greens have called on the Andrews Government to release a ‘recovery plan’ to create jobs and give people hope, after the government’s roadmap confirmed Victorians would be living with strict restrictions for several more months.
The Greens say those that have been hardest hit by the ongoing lockdown should be prioritised in an economic recovery plan for the state, and have released a draft plan of their own focusing on jobs for women and young people, building safe public housing, and helping Victorians’ with the cost of living while bringing down emissions.
The crisis has left hundreds of thousands of Victorians out-of-work and grappling with housing instability with no clear reprieve in sight.
The Greens say that the upcoming Victorian State Budget is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest to ‘build back better’ and fix some of the underlying problems that COVID-19 has laid bare.
The Greens recovery plan includes:
- Victoria Cares: a new Greens initiative that would fund the creation of over 20,000 well-paid and secure jobs for frontline workers in health, education and community services; this would support the disproportionate numbers of women that have faced job losses and financial insecurity since the pandemic began.
- Building 100,000 public housing homes over the next ten years to deal with the state’s 100,000-strong public housing waiting list and create construction jobs.
- A large-scale program to upgrade every home in Victoria with energy efficiency, helping Victorians reduce their cost-of-living and bringing down emissions while creating jobs.
- A plan to revitalise local shopping strips to support small businesses hard hit by the pandemic restrictions.
Acting Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said that while the COVID-19 crisis had created a once in a lifetime challenge, it had also provided a once in a lifetime opportunity for the government to ‘build Victoria back better’.
She added that by making ambitious investments in caring jobs, housing and energy projects, the government could help to build a fairer and more sustainable Victoria while creating jobs and bringing down the cost-of-living for those who need it most.
The Victorian Greens’ full Green New Deal plan can be found here.
Quotes attributable to Acting Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“With Victorians facing restrictions for months to come, the Government must release a plan for recovery. This year’s Victorian State Budget is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a better Victoria, and address the problems that COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on.
“The Greens plan would invest to create thousands of jobs, especially for women and young people, who have been hardest hit by the economic effects of the pandemic. Our plan would also build more public housing and retrofit every Victorian home with energy efficiency, to reduce our bills and make our homes more comfortable for the long-haul.
“We urge Dan Andrews to seize this opportunity to build Victoria back even better than it was before, by investing in these Greens plans in this year’s state budget.”
Victoria Cares is a Greens jobs initiative that would fund the creation of over 20,000 longer-term and secure jobs in the caring industries like nurses, teachers, social workers and disability workers.
A big build of public housing
The Victorian Greens want to see a big build of public housing to tackle homelessness and relieve the state’s exorbitant waiting list. The Greens want to see 100,000 new public housing homes built by 2030, creating over 10,000 much-needed jobs and 1,000 apprenticeships in the process.
Energy upgrades for Victorian homes
The Victorian Greens want to see the establishment of a large-scale energy efficiency upgrade program to upgrade homes across Victoria with draught-proofing, insulation, double-glazing and replacing inefficient gas heaters with efficient electric heat pumps.
This would significantly lower cost-of-living at a time, make homes more comfortable when people are required to stay in their homes, and employ up to 15,000 people.
Revitalising our shopping strips
The Victorian Greens have announced an unprecedented plan to revitalise local shopping strips in the wake of the deep blow inflicted by the COVID-19 crisis. The plan would involve establishing a new Shopping Strips Revitalisation Unit embedded in the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions to implement it. The plan would involve measures like support for artist studios and pop-up shops in vacant premises, a vacancy tax on empty shop fronts to decrease vacancy rates and help lower rents, and upgrading our streetscapes with improved footpaths, tree coverage and pop-up dining areas.
The project would be funded by the debt facility already set up by the Victorian State Government, and the Greens propose that these initiatives are more jobs-rich and cost-effective, and therefore should be prioritised over, other Government projects such as the expensive North East Link toll road.