For Australia to bounce back, these COVID measures should be made permanent

Font Size:

For Australia to bounce back from the throes of COVID-19, policy measures put in place during the pandemic should be made permanent, say Australian National University (ANU) experts. 

Many of the 156 government policy measures should stay long term, according to a new report from the ANU which analysed the policy measures and the growing gap in health outcomes between rich and poor in Australia. 

“There is a growing divide in our life expectancy and health experiences in Australia between the lowest and highest socio-economic groups, which will more than likely be widened by COVID-19,” said lead author Professor Sharon Friel.

“This pandemic is touching everyone’s life, but the risk of COVID-19 and its impacts are distributed unequally. The physical and mental health of older people, people living in poverty and marginalised racial and ethnic groups are at elevated risk now and well into the future.

“Australia is going backwards in terms of social inequality and this is a matter of life and death for those most disadvantaged.”

Decisions such as keeping the increases in income support and free childcare should stay on the table for the long term, and the creation of more social housing will help many get a foothold in the sides of the coronavirus hole out of which many must climb.

“Maintaining initiatives such as free childcare long term is a chance for Australia to bounce back better than before,” said Prof. Friel.

“Free childcare not only benefits children from socially disadvantaged households with access to vital cognitive and emotional development opportunities but is a huge benefit to the economy. 

“Free childcare enables more women to return to employment, which makes a major contribution to our GDP.”

Strategies to improve employment opportunities, household income and standard of living will stabilise community health and wellbeing and reduce widening health inequities.

“When COVID-19 hit the government intervened really quickly to provide additional money for people on income support schemes,” said Prof. Friel. 

“These income supplements create greater social cohesion, wellbeing and long-term health outcomes. 

“If the government can do it during a pandemic then they should be able to do it going forward.”

Researchers are concerned the government’s plans to bounce back from COVID don’t include public housing.

According to the ANU’s The Australian COVID-19 policy responses: Good for health equity or a missed opportunity? report: “None of the housing-related policies that were introduced due to COVID-19 address the medium and long term housing precariousness prevalent in Australia”. 

“This pandemic laid bare some of the deepest inequalities in our society, not least the need for secure housing. Unfortunately, we have not seen any policy responses addressing the housing crisis beyond short-term triage,” said Prof. Friel.

“The tower blocks in Melbourne are just one example of why we need more affordable and secure social housing.

“If we do not hold on to the progress we have made with income support and free childcare policies, and do much more to fix the housing crisis, social and health inequalities will continue to widen in Australia.”

What do you think should be a focus for the government’s plan to help us bounce back from COVID-19?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

RELATED LINKS

Strong support for strict COVID restrictions

Despite some politicians claiming otherwise, there is strong support for stage four lockdown.

‘Elderly COVID patients could be left to die naturally’: Abbott

Former prime minister Tony Abbott calls for COVID rules to be relaxed in Australia.

COVID shock means one in five will delay retirement: study

An Australian Stock Exchange study suggests many Australians will delay retirement.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

Contact:
LinkedIn
Email



SPONSORED LINKS

Sign-up to the YourLifeChoices Enewsletter

continue reading

Government

Australians give big thumbs down to the public service

Only 27 per cent of Australians believe the public service acts in the public interest and only 22 per cent...

Brain health

Normal tension glaucoma linked to cognitive impairment

Australian researchers say they have established a link between the eye condition glaucoma and cognitive impairment, the state that often...

Lifestyle

Old wives' tales put to the test

Alice Shaw-Beckett, from cleaning company Cleanipedia, dissects 13 old wives' tales related to cleaning and pest control to discover whether...

Travel & Motoring

Consider this when deciding on a roadside assist deal

A reader raised an interesting point that I hadn’t considered before. When she bought her new car, it included -...

Technology News

Which portable heater is best?

As the famous Stark motto from Game of Thrones states, 'Winter is Coming' and that means putting the flannelette sheets...

Smartphones

What works, what won't, if you get your phone wet

Ritesh Chugh, CQUniversity Australia If you've ever got your phone wet in the rain, dropped it in water or spilt...

Nutrition

Are natural alternatives better than refined sugar?

Eating sugar shouldn't be demonised and tucking into a bar of chocolate after a stressful day is nothing to punish...

Health news

What your body may be trying to tell you

One of the unforeseen outcomes of a pandemic is that fewer people are going to the doctor to get unusual...

LOADING MORE ARTICLE...