Katina Curtis, AAP Senior Political Writer
(Australian Associated Press)
Women have been the hardest hit in the coronavirus-driven recession, with 325,000 losing their jobs since the crisis started.
The latest data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics shows women have lost work at a greater rate than men since mid-March.
They also account for half of the more than three million employees receiving JobKeeper wage subsidies, despite making up less than half the total workforce.
“Women have been the hardest hit through COVID-19,” federal minister Sussan Ley told parliament on Tuesday.
“This is partly due to the fact women are heavily represented in sectors with sharp decreases in paid work – hospitality, tourism and retail.”
JobKeeper, in particular, had been a lifeline for female workers, she said.
Her comments came after Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter conceded some workers now getting wage subsidies would be pushed into unemployment once the JobKeeper scheme ends in September.
The government is weighing up how to support sectors of the economy likely to stay in hibernation for longer, such as hospitality and tourism.
The latter will get something of a boost with South Australia deciding to open its borders to people from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania without any quarantine requirements from midnight on Tuesday.
Premier Steven Marshall intends to keep the restrictions in place for people from other states until July 20.
But his WA counterpart Mark McGowan warned that may be unconstitutional.
Queensland’s government has declared it will battle a legal challenge against its border closures in the High Court.
It is planning to lift the restrictions from July 10.
A dozen new cases of coronavirus were recorded on Tuesday, with only NSW and Victoria reporting new infections.
There were nine cases in Victoria, including one in a student that prompted the closure of a third school in the state.
The three cases in NSW were all in people who were in hotel quarantine after returning from overseas.
Despite these new cases, states remain confident about continuing to ease restrictions.