SPÖ federal party leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner called for “the historically largest investment package” and measures to prevent a third lockdown at the online state party conference of the SPÖ Upper Austria on Saturday. Birgit Gerstorfer was re-elected as the state party leader in the afternoon with 86.8 percent of the delegate’s votes. The 57-year-old will also lead the party as the top candidate in the state election in 2021.
In an initial reaction, Gerstorfer was pleased with a “great result”. As their deputy were club chairman Christian Makor (88.8 percent), the new oö elected on Friday. SPÖ women’s chairwoman Renate Heitz (85.7 percent), the trade unionist Andreas Stangl (86.1 percent), the MP Alois Stöger (83 percent), the third President of the State Parliament Gerda Weichsler-Hauer (84.3 percent) and Member of the State Parliament Peter Binder ( 70.9 percent).
Rendi-Wagner, who was one of the few participants personally present at the Central in Linz, pointed out the “dramatic” situation on the job market. She suspects that the federal government is taking the corona rules so seriously that it has gone to “maximum distance from working people” and those who are affected by job loss. A “big, noticeable tax cut on the labor factor” is needed to strengthen purchasing power, an increase in unemployment benefits and a guarantee of location if state aid flows in. She criticized that working people and pensioners had to bear the costs of the crisis. It would be much fairer to ask profiteers like Amazon to pay, “they made billions of additional profits through Corona” and would not pay “a cent”, according to Rendi-Wagner.
In the federal government’s corona crisis management, she misses forward-looking planning. After the first lockdown, people “leaned back and put their feet up,” said the party leader. “You slept through the summer” and frivolously gambled away the lead from the first lockdown. Austria had the lowest seven-day frequency of corona cases in May and today it has the highest worldwide.
The second lockdown is now necessary “because the federal government has literally lost control of the virus”, but now it is necessary to take precautions so that there is no third lockdown. So you have to recruit staff for contact tracing and testing, an “Austria-wide test strategy has not existed for nine months” and a vaccination strategy should be drawn up, she demanded. The mass tests would only make sense if they were repeated after a few days in order to include people during the incubation period. But you assume “that the federal government has not thought that far,” said the SPÖ leader.