ACOSS calls on Coalition Party Room to do right thing by millions with least

23 February 2021

The Australian Council of Social Service calls on the Coalition Party Room to ensure that the final decision by the Government on JobSeeker is humane and does not leave millions of people in severe financial distress and deprivation.

Media reporting indicates that the Federal Government is set to make an announcement on JobSeeker following the Party Room meeting on Tuesday morning.

Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“Already, at $51 a day with the current Coronavirus Supplement, people on JobSeeker are being forced to make impossible decisions, choosing between housing, food, medications, basic toiletries and paying bills.

“The Government’s decision will impact millions who have the least, including hundreds of thousands of children whose parents are locked of paid work, people with a disability, students, older workers, people with a chronic illness, single parents, people from all walks of life.

“We are calling for an increase of least $25 a day on the brutal old Newstart rate of just $40 a day, which would bring the JobSeeker rate to $65 a day.

“More than a decade ago, the Ken Henry Review recommended a $50 per week increase to Australia’s unemployment payment, which was never delivered.

“There is currently only one job available for every nine people looking, with even less in regional areas. We are yet to see the impact of JobKeeper and eviction moratoriums ending. As we continue along what will be a long, hard road out of recession, we cannot leave millions of people behind in poverty, which is clearly inhumane makes no economic sense.

“For far too long, our unemployment payment, which is the lowest in the OECD, has been brutal and inhumane. The Morrison Government has an opportunity here to make a historic decision that would dramatically reduce poverty, changing lives,” Dr Goldie said.

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