Members Statement: COVID-19 Essential Workers
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran):
I want to say thank you to essential workers in the Prahran electorate. Our nurses, doctors and healthcare workers.
Teachers, educators, childcare workers. People working in aged care and social services. Workers in retail and hospitality, and everyone behind the scenes: cleaners, drivers and those working to keep supply chains going. You’re doing essential work that’s bringing you in close contact with people every day. You’re in harm’s way and at risk. And we now all of us have a new appreciation of the work you do, finally the recognition that what you are doing is providing an essential service to everyone in our community.
This new appreciation must extend beyond the pandemic. It must go beyond just saying thank you. We must now do all we can to demonstrate our thanks. For many essential services, they are female-dominated industries—industries that haven’t been valued for that very reason, and where low pay and insecure work are rife.
That means we need to fight for better pay and conditions, for more well-paid, secure jobs. To make sure every worker, including casuals, has paid pandemic leave if they contract COVID or have to self-quarantine. It means continuing to push for frontline healthcare workers to get the highest level PPE they need and guaranteed worker compensation if you contract COVID-19. And for all workers to have paid leave if they contract COVID-19 or have to care for someone who does.
So today I say thank you, and commit to making sure your work is truly valued.