ACT Government calls for ongoing commitment to raise rate

Australian Greens

The ACT Government is calling on the Federal Government to do more than what has been announced today and commit to further increases in JobSeeker to a more sustainable, liveable and permanent rate above the poverty line.

As stated by Andrew Barr, Chief Minister:

“Raising the rate is far and away the clearest, simplest and most efficient way to lift people out of poverty.”

“The ACT Government is urging the Federal government to go beyond what has been announced today and further raise the rate each year to push the Job Seeker rate above the poverty line.

Low levels of social security payments are the major cause of poverty for unemployed people and people on Youth Allowance and related payments, not just in Canberra but across Australia.”

“Governments at all levels have a role to play in supporting people facing poverty, but the Commonwealth Government has by far the greatest capacity to permanently address this issue.

“We should be working together to get incomes rising, to get more people in jobs and to encourage wage growth.”

As stated by Emma Davidson, Minister for Disability and Assistant Minister for Family and Community Services:

“The Federal Government’s extra $50 a fortnight to JobSeeker does not cut it.”

“We need a permanent rise in income and welfare support payments. Across the country there has been a rise in the number of young people with a disability living on below poverty level welfare benefits. This is unacceptable and we cannot create an inclusive community if at-risk people have to choose between housing, food or medication.”

“A permanent increase to the rate will also address food security, reducing the pressure on food banks and charities for something that is a fundamental necessity.”

“The Federal government needs to substantially and permanently raise the rate to decrease poverty and increase social inclusion. We have seen that they can prioritise supporting those most in need when they raised the rate of during 2020. What they prioritise now will make an immediate and lasting difference to the lives of so many Canberrans. It is not acceptable to make the choice to leave people in poverty.”

As stated by Rebecca Vassarotti, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services:

“This is a marginal increase and will not help the most vulnerable Canberrans live above the poverty line. We need a payment level that enables people to live a life of dignity – where they can afford to feed themselves and their families, pay for essential services, medication and the basics of life.”

“One of the key issues leading to homelessness in the ACT is low rates of welfare payments. The end of the JobSeeker supplement will throw almost 20,000 Canberrans into poverty and increases their risk of homelessness.”

“Poverty is an issue for many in our community. It impacts the people who access housing and homelessness services, food security and support people into secure work. Except for the COVID supplement, and now marginal fortnightly increase, the real rate of JobSeeker has not changed over the past twenty years. This is something that must permanently change.”

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