Covid-19 will be stamp on our collective psyche for decades, and while we are merely only a few months into a global pandemic crisis, it's already clear to see that the ongoing economic issues will have an enormous impact on our international and local community for years to come. Australian’s need to stay at home during this time to flatten the virus curve – but people need to earn a living to pay for their homes and keep the economy rolling. Now that many businesses are closed and many people have lost their income, our economy will suffer. The solution: Universal Basic Income for all tax payers.
About Universal Basic Income: Universal Basic Income is a fortnightly or monthly payment of the minimum amount an individual needs to live and pay bills (liveable wage). It is not means tested, therefore anyone, on any salary is eligible. Even financially abundant individuals. However some people may choose to not receive it if they feel they don't need it. But it is available to everyone equally. The federal government have promised cash injections of Job Keeper payments via the ATO for businesses to continue paying employees if they need to close, and Centrelink Job Seeker payments are available for anyone who is eligible. But this formula still misses a lot of people in a variety of situations. As a country we can't afford to push a large percentage of our population towards poverty, or let the economy come to a complete standstill. There are already over 100k homeless people in Australia. That number will soar if all Australian citizens and tax payers aren't supported through this crisis. Universal Basic Income payments to all individuals, along with cash injections for businesses will cover much more ground and include many more groups than what is currently being planned. A Universal Basic Income will relieve the current stress and pressure for every individual in our country and enable us to continue spending money on personal expenses as well as continue paying bills, and injecting money back into the economy and help to keep business going during this uncertain time.
Centrelink and government departments are overwhelmed: Centrelink and services Australia are already overwhelmed with the number of new sign ups trying to get on Job Seeker payments. Government staff are stressed, and many Australians fear losing their income. The MyGov website has needed ongoing updates to accommodate for the extreme traffic, and the site is frequently unavailable, as the phone lines are also backed up, while tens of thousands of people are lined up outside of the Centrelink offices around the country, exposed to crowds, desperately hoping they are eligible to receive payments. The staff are required to process eligibility and follow up on each person, this is a time consuming process of hoop jumping and red tape. But if every Australian citizen and tax payer were offered Universal Basic income, this process would be simplified immediately. All that would be required, is your proof of citizenship/ID, age, contact details and bank account details. Done. Homelessness and welfare:
Covid-19 will be stamp on our collective psyche for decades to come, and while we are merely only a few months into a global pandemic crisis, it's already clear to see that the coming economic issues will have an enormous impact on our international and local community. Australian’s need to stay at home during this time to flatten the virus curve – but people need to earn a living to pay for their homes and keep the economy rolling. Now that many businesses are close, our economy will suffer. The solution: Universal Basic Income for all tax payers. more housing commission properties. This will be an enormous cost to the federal budget. The welfare and Medicare systems will be overwhelmed. This will cause problems for many, many years. Also, increased poverty and homelessness = increased crime. We don't want to force our society into desperation, the goal is to maintain what we have. Home owners and investment property owners: If we don't establish something like UBI, many of the people who who pay private rent and have lost employment and/or exhausted their savings, will no longer be able to afford their accomodation. So they will have to move. Many investment property owners will find it difficult to get new renters in because we will be in the midst of an economic disaster with the majority of the country experiencing financial insecurity. Investment property owners will be forced to lower rent to attract new renters who can afford it. There are currently short term solutions for mortgage owners, but this impending crisis could lead to property owners struggling to meet mortgage repayments long term - then also having to sell their investment property. Many unemployed people are not eligible for Centrelink payments as they have have savings, own assets and own homes, so they will be forced to liquify their assets to cover their expenses. Liquifying assets means home sales, a lot of home sales! When this happens, there will be a flood of properties available on the market and the value of property will crash enormously.
Economists are struggling to predict what will happen, as many people will find it difficult to pay rent and mortgage repayments, while also cancelling their private health insurance, gym memberships, personal subscriptions and curbing their usual spending on personal services. With UBI, much of those expenses could continue to be paid with no need to pause or cancel.
Rather than just pausing mortgages and rent, or cancelling gym memberships, private health insurance and other subscriptions, creating more widespread interruptions that move further up the chain, which would essentially stop the economy, everyone receiving UBI payments could continue paying for things as normal and keep the economy cogs turning. A Universal Basic Income will allow individuals to continue paying their bills, while also making purchases. Those who can afford it, will be encouraged to spend their UBI payments immediately in order to keep cash flow in our economy, and ultimately help businesses stay afloat, rather than scrape by or go out of business altogether.
If you feel that a Universal Basic Income is something that will help Australians, please sign this petition. I will personally see that it is delivered to my local member Bill Shorten and the Victorian Premiere Dan Andrews so that they can press Scott Morrison and the federal government to consider implementing relief packages that include Universal Basic Income ASAP.
Please also look up who the local member of parliament is in your neighbourhood and head to their website to send them a letter requesting Universal Basic Income for all Australian citizens and tax payers to get us all through this time. You have a voice, please use it!
Alicia Pavlis Small Business Owner / Creative Melbourne, Australia Sign petition here: https://www.change.org/p/australian-government-universal-basic-income-for-all-australian-tax-payers