The Australian government has supported people without paid work by lifting the JobSeeker rate and other income support payments, helping them survive through the immediate crisis.
On September 25, Jobseeker will be reduced by $300 per fortnight.
Then the payment is due to be reduced by a further $250 per fortnight on December 31, returning to the original rate of $40 per day.
It is cruel and devastating to cut the incomes of people looking for paid work and others, in what will be a long-term economic downturn.
People on payments are trying to cover the basics and are often only now catching up on outstanding bills and other expenses.
The JobSeeker Payment (formerly Newstart) has been kept low for decades. Before COVID, the rate of JobSeeker was only $40-a-day and had not been raised in real terms since 1994.
The ongoing virus crisis affects the mental and physical health of welfare recipients. The government has acknowledged this by broadcasting TV advertisements about taking care of ourselves. Research by ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Service) has indicated that the introduction of the $550 a fortnight Coronavirus Supplement had a substantial positive impact on the health and finances of individuals and their families.
There is widespread support for a permanent, adequate raise to JobSeeker Payment, including from business organisations like the Business Council of Australia and Council of Small Business Organisations, regional groups like the Country Women’s Association, health organisations like the Australian Medical Association, along with community organisations like Anglicare and St. Vincent de Paul, trade unions, and over 40 local governments.
We support the voices across the country calling on the Australian government to raise the rate for good.
Signed Cr Michael Whelan, Cr Geoff Ellis, Michael Nugent, Leticia Laing, Dr Nola Maxfield and Dr Suzanne Deed.