26 May 2020


TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2020

SUBJECTS: Volunteer Grants, JobKeeper, Jobs and the Economy post COVID-19.

BRENDAN TELFER, HOST: The good news is that we have Peta Murphy on the line, who is, of course, the local member for Dunkley. As she does every Tuesday morning, around about this time, she updates on Dunkley News. Good morning, Peta.

PETA MURPHY, MEMBER FOR DUNKLEY: Good morning. Lovely brisk morning today.

HOST: It is a lovely brisk morning and also a little bit of fog and mist around some of the rows out the back of Frankston as well. So people who are driving be mindful of that. And we're hearing from Michael that that stuff could move on down the peninsula over the course of the morning as well. Peta, some fantastic news for your electorate. Community groups celebrating a much needed boost. Many of them walking away with up to five thousand dollars. These are, of course, some of the not for profits and some of the local neighbourhood groups. Big day for you and obviously some big smiles on a few faces around the Dunkley electorate.

PETA MURPHY: Yeah, I was really pleased to be able to make a bunch of calls, as you would imagine, to some of the groups, the volunteer groups that support our community that have been successful in getting grants through the volunteer program. And it's a great, diverse bunch of organisations, ranging from the Frankston Cancer Bag groups, a group of people that make care packages for people that are getting treatment for cancer. The Frankston Music Society. The Rotary Club of Frankston for a project they got with a shed, so they can do more activities outside. The Greek Citizens Club. One phone call that I loved making yesterday, that was a little bit bittersweet, I called Gina for Theodora House. Gina is the Frankston Senior Citizen of the year and from Theodora's Cheerful Givers who help people in need. And she was obviously beside herself with joy to get the money to help get her fuel, because they are delivering food packages at the moment. And she was saying to me that she's been open all through this closure time to help people and has been overwhelmed with people coming in needing food. And I did a mail out across the electorate advising people of the supports that were available and she said that people had been coming in with that flyer asking for food. So it was a bit bittersweet, because it was, you know, amazing to talk to Gina about the terrific work they're doing helping people and it was great to know that people were getting the information, but it was also pretty sad to hear that there'd been a big upswing in people needing assistance of food.

HOST: Yes, it's incredible the impact of COVID-19. I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of it later on when some of the government largesse sort of comes off later on in the year, it's going to be interesting. Speaking of that, though, it looks like the government's getting on the front foot, Peta, in terms of looking at reinvesting, in terms of moving forward, sort of domestic investment as well. Looks like some of the big newspapers are across that today, looking to try and sort of grow development through a national cabinet and also jobs training across some of those regions. This sort of harks back a little bit to some of the Labor Party policies over the last few years as well, I guess.

PETA MURPHY: Yeah, it absolutely does. And you'll forgive me if I'm a little bit cynical. I try not to be political for the sake of being political. But the Prime Minister apparently is going to talk about reinvigorating skills and training and say that the system is broken. And, you know, he and his party have been in charge of this system for quite some time now and have cut significant amounts of funding from that system. So, I'm going to wait and see what he says. I'm a little bit cynical. It's easy enough to come up with a Job maker. I think it's harder to actually reform a system but, there is no doubt that reform is needed.

HOST: Well, indeed. I mean your electorate over the years, of course, has been badly affected, I'm thinking about the big TAFE up there as well. A number of changes and a number of sort of austerity campaigns which affected some parts of the Frankston and Dunkley infrastructure over a number of years. But it looks like it's going to be turned around. What is old is new again.

PETA MURPHY: Well, look I would hope so. And I know the state government has certainly announced a number of funding programs recently, which should be a great benefit. And I know that there are locals in Frankston that have been reemployed under the Victorian job maker program. We are going to have to do a lot of work, particularly for, I mean there's sort of two groups of people isn't there: there's older people who have lost their jobs and they will need to be reskilled in order to get a new job and then there's young people. Youth unemployment is already at 15 per cent nationwide approximately and the information I'm getting is that locally young people have been hit really hard. I was at the Brotherhood of St Laurence Centre in High Street last week talking to Bec, and they have a transition to work program and at least half of their students, who are young people, you know, 17, 18, 19, had dropped out of it and couldn't find jobs during the last couple of months, and in one week alone they got a referral from the Department of 150 young people needing assistance to find work. And that's really affected them, the tip of the iceberg. So I'm very conscious that as we come out of this, there's a lot of work that will need to be done to support the local community, to not just get the skills but to find the jobs.

HOST: It will be very interesting if basically the government then starts looking at the infrastructure across the country and our manufacturing capacity as well going forward and trying to reduce its reliance on China, which, of course, as we were saying earlier on in the program, is taking one third of our exports at the moment.

PETA MURPHY: Yeah. Look, that's going to have to be a sophisticated and nuanced move because we're not going to be able to obviously supply everything that we need domestically in Australia. And we also do want to keep an export market, don't we? So, we're going to have to work very hard, I think, to look at what we can do supply chain wise to have better manufacturing and be more self-sufficient, but also make sure that we maintain our export markets. Look, I think the other thing that people are starting to talk about is the recovery. Yes, we need more investment and support in manufacturing and construction. But I think people are also starting to see that, you know, everyone that we've been lauding as the frontline workers, you know, those essential workers, turns out to be child care workers, nurses, cleaners, teachers, security guards, people who are actually low paid workers. And predominantly, not all of them, but predominantly women. And so if we're looking at how to stimulate the economy and how to move forward, I think we've also got to remember it's not just about construction projects and manufacturing. It's also about supporting those industries where low paid workers are and predominately where women are. And they've been affected significantly in terms of reduced participation rate in the workforce.

HOST: It's a little bit out of your area but do you think the belt and road policy, the Chinese belt and road policy is going to affect Daniel Andrews.?

PETA MURPHY: Look, I'm going to not be a political commentator about how state politics are going. I mean, Anthony Albanese has said, you know, if we win the federal election, we won't sign up to the belt and road initiative but, you know, you can see why state governments are anxious to make sure that they've got good trading partners and good relationships around the country. But I'll let Daniel Andrews and the state government fight the state election, I think.

HOST: Very wise move Ms Murphy. I can hear your beautiful dogs in the background.

PETA MURPHY: Yeah, I'm sorry about that.

HOST: No, it's not a problem at all because we know that they love their walks and we know that they're a little bit late today. So I'm sure the walks aren't too far away. Peta Murphy, it's going to be an interesting month or two. And again, I guess there's a lot of responsibility on the opposition and you, yourself, as the Dunkley Member to put your hand up and basically get involved in some of these big discussions, obviously happening at a federal, but also have such massive ramifications here at the local level in our electorate that we know so well, Dunkley as well.

PETA MURPHY: That's right. And, you know, for example, I was talking to a constituent yesterday, a woman from Carrum Downs, who wanted to make sure I knew her story so I could take it to Canberra and feed it into the national debate about the way JobKeeper has, or hasn't been working, and people who have fallen through the cracks. And, you know, in short, she's a single mother, she's got a son with special needs and is also a youth worker. So she's on a carer's pension to help with her son but works casually in a youth residential home - partly because she needs the extra money and partly because, you know, that's her career and like everyone else, that's part of her sense of self-worth. And because she'd be working through an agency, she hasn't been given the casual shifts during this time. They've gone with all the permanent workers. She's not eligible for JobKeeper. She now just has the carers pension, which isn't enough to survive on. And for the first time in her entire life, she can't pay the rent.

HOST: Wow.

PETA MURPHY: Yeah and you know, she was calling me not to complain about herself, or not to say she wanted more, she was calling me to say 'Peta, I want you to know that this is what is happening in people's lives like mine'. So, people in Canberra can understand that it's not just a political argument about, you know, a $60 billion dollar, biggest ever budget blunder that's been made with JobKeeper and whether or not it should be extended. It's about whether people like this woman in Carrum Downs can just get that bit of support to get through, you know?

HOST: Yeah that is the humanity, that's the people aspect of this extraordinary stuff that's going on at the moment. And I mean, she must be really hurting and my heart goes out to her as well because obviously people are doing it very, very hard at the moment. Peta Murphy, how do we get in touch with you? Where do the constituents go? How do they speak to you? And how can they get their voices heard in Canberra?

PETA MURPHY: Well, anyone can contact me at any time. Sorry, I'm just going back outside away from the dogs. They've decided to fight over a chewy toy. Contact me at any time on 9781 2333 is the office phone number. The email is [email protected]. My electorate office is at 37 Playne Street in Frankston. We are now open again. People can come in. I would still urge people if it's possible to call or email rather than come in because we're still maintaining safe distances and trying to stay safe. And also I'm very active on my Facebook page, I can't answer everybody's comments, as you would imagine, but if people want to get onto my Facebook page, that's another way to get in contact with me. And I will say this, if I can, Brendan, what I've been doing on my Facebook page for the last, I don't know, probably almost two months now is I've started a series of Dunkley conversations, which is chats with local organisations, service providers and just people about how they're getting through this period, you know, what services are and aren't available and how things might go in the future, to try to help people stay connected. And that's been very successful. People are really interested. There's a great one with Buster Murphy, he's from BAM! All Stars, All Abilities Dance Group, and he busts a move for us. If people would like to check that out, that would be great. And if anyone is interested, you know, they've got a good story to tell or they're supporting a group or a charity or something that they'd like to talk about, just get in touch. I'd love to interview them and have them part of the Dunkley Conversation series.

HOST: Fantastic. Peta Murphy, thank you very much indeed for taking time out, talking to us each and every Tuesday morning around about this time we manage to have a few words with you. We appreciate your time, Peta.

PETA MURPHY: My pleasure.

HOST: Stay Warm, and rug up because those dogs are going to be pulling you very, very hard soon, they're dying for their morning walk by the sounds of it.

PETA MURPHY: Oh they are, yeah, I've put it off for too long now. I've got to put the beanie and the coat on and go outside.

HOST: Off you go, thank you very much indeed. Speak to you soon Peta. Thank you very much indeed. Peta Murphy from the Dunkley Electorate.



Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.