Australia's economic response to COVID ignores aged care, climate crisis and housing, report finds

An aerial view of the public housing towers that were closed in response to Melbourne's second COVID-19 infection wave.
27 August 2020

Australia’s economic response to Covid-19 has failed to address insecure work, privatised services such as aged care, low housing supply and climate change.

That is the conclusion of Australian National University Menzies Centre for Health Governance report, released on Thursday, praising the federal government for temporary support scheme including jobkeeper and free childcare, but charging it with failing to make long-term change to improve equity and health.

The report adds to a growing push to extend free childcare, with advocates including thinktank the Australia Institute, small and family business ombudsman, Kate Carnell, and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

The Menzies centre said that Australia’s economic response to the Covid-19 recession – with 156 separate measures at state and federal level – has been “impressive and to be commended”. But it warned Australia’s policies must “not return to conditions that will keep people in poverty”.

“To prevent an accumulation of disadvantage and health inequities throughout the life course, the temporary supports for childcare should continue and enable access to free childcare for, at the very least, socially disadvantaged households,” it said.

The Menzies centre was most critical of the housing stimulus, warning that “none of the housing-related measures that were introduced address the medium and long-term housing precariousness that is prevalent in Australia”.

Read the full article on The Guardian website, featuring research from The Australian National University