New data shows people affected by JobSeeker cuts could decide results in next Federal election

15 March 2021

Parliament will vote this week on the bill to set the ongoing rate of income support, lifting JobSeeker by a paltry $3.57/day after the Coronavirus Supplement is abolished at the end of March.

ACOSS reveals new analysis from the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW showing more than 50 marginal electorates could be decided by people affected by the cuts to social security payments being voted on in Parliament this week.

The data shows an average of 13,000 people in each electorate (more than 10% of electors, on average), 9,000 of whom receive JobSeeker or Youth Allowance (Other) will have their incomes cut at the end of March.

The Bill only delivers an additional $3.57 per day to the permanent rate of JobSeeker, cutting JobSeeker back to just $44 per day, which is just $16 000 a year.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“If this bill goes through, it will see the incomes of about 3 million people, including 1 million children, cut by $50 a week, because it will abolish the current Coronavirus Supplement.”

“Parliamentarians preparing to vote for this bill need to be aware of the reality in their electorates, and that this is the single most important issue in the lives of people directly affected.”

“The analysis shows that at least 52 Federal seats are held by margins that are less than the number of people who will see their incomes cut at the end of March.”

“Before COVID, one third of single parents, who are overwhelmingly women, were living in poverty with their children. As the 550 Reasons to Smile campaign showed, the Coronavirus Supplement gave women and their children the dignity of being able to cover the very basics – winter clothes, toiletries and medical needs. Now hundreds of thousands of single mothers, who face additional challenges in finding paid work, are incredibly concerned about their families futures.”

The analysis shows more than 325,000 single mothers will lose the Coronavirus Supplement at the end of the month.

“The Parliament must not turn its back on the 3 million people who right now don’t know if they can pay their rent, put food on the table or pay the next electricity bill.”

“We urge Parliament to amend the JobSeeker bill to increase working-age payments to at least $65 a day so that people can rebuild their lives,” said Dr Goldie.

An increase to $65 per day would lift the base rate of JobSeeker to just above the poverty line.

Electorates with margins smaller than JobSeeker numbers

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