JobSeeker Senate Inquiry attracts 500 submissions

8 March 2021

ACOSS thanks more than 500 people who have sent submissions to the JobSeeker Senate Inquiry within just days. There are hundreds of submissions from people struggling on the current rate of JobSeeker who have detailed their fears that they won’t be able to survive on just $44 a day.

“Reading copies of some of these submissions is heart-breaking and gut-wrenching,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Julie, NSW, who will give evidence with ACOSS at the Inquiry Committee Hearing tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10:30 am AEST, said in her submission:

“It is isolating, it is confidence stripping, it is hard work. I would spend hours searching for jobs I had no chance of getting. I would spend further hours rewording my applications to suit selection criteria. The selection criteria have become difficult to live up to as more courses are needed and experience is essential. If you have no experience you have no chance. I am undergoing cancer treatment and how sad to say I am fortunate my treatment coincided with a pandemic. I cannot imagine how I would have survived on the $560 a fortnight before COVID hit.”

Committee hearing program. To watch the hearing tomorrow, visit: https://www.aph.gov.au/Watch_Read_Listen

Other submission extracts include:

Tim, Queensland:

“I lost my job in a frontline management role 9 months ago due to the COVID contraction. I’ve literally applied to over 400 jobs since. Since then, I’ve only been able to find casual work at about half my previous pay. I’m not playing the system, I’m just trapped by circumstance. And once we lose the house, given my wife and I are in our 40s, we’ll likely never recover.”

Liz, NSW, who is currently on on JobKeeper and fears going on JobSeeker in April. Her husband has been on JobSeeker for years after being retrenched from his job as an IT manager:

“We moved from Sydney to [a regional town] in 2016 because we could no longer afford to live in the city. We could not afford our rent (after having to sell our flat) and were constantly borrowing money and using food banks to eat. Fortunately, a swim school was looking for instructors and I got a job with them. Surviving means just sitting around home, watching TV, doing nothing and going nowhere… My children do very little sport, they do not go out with friends very often and they don’t often get new clothes… We live in fear of having to move house (which we’ve had to do twice since arriving here … getting the car registered or repaired and even school photos can throw the budget out. I am on depression/anxiety medication because I have been unable to cope with the constant stress of having to make our money cover everything we need.”

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“The Inquiry is also receiving compelling arguments in favour of a greater increase from academics, industry bodies and many community sector organisations.

“Many submissions reiterate the evidence that increasing the rate of JobSeeker to an adequate level is not only the right thing to do for over a million people and their children, it’s also the smart thing to do for the economy, as it will be spent on necessary goods and services.

“We call on every member of Parliament to stand up for their constituents with the least, and amend the Government’s Bill to deliver an adequate increase that gives people the basic dignity of being able to cover the costs of essentials, like food and housing,” Dr Goldie said.

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