21 January 2021
With unemployment figures out today, the Australian Council of Social Service is warning that only two thirds of full-time time jobs lost in the recession have been restored and that more jobs must be generated to allow for people entering the labour market, including more than 200,000 school leavers.
Australian Council of Social Service Acting CEO Edwina MacDonald said:
“The solid employment growth of the last three months is very welcome. But with one and a half million people on unemployment payments and only two thirds of full-time jobs lost during the recession restored, we still have a long way to go to provide paid employment to all who need it.
“We know that for every job vacancy, there are nine people looking for a job or more hours, and that this is even worse in many regional areas.
“What’s more, we still have to generate enough jobs for people entering the labour market, including over 200,000 school leavers. There are huge opportunities for job creation through providing much needed investment in social housing, the care sector and in energy efficiency upgrades for low-income homes.
“To rebuild from this crisis, the Government must focus on job creation and ensuring people without enough paid work can cover the basics, including a roof over head and food on the table.
“While the Government did the right thing at the start of the crisis by increasing income support, it’s now undoing that good work with cuts, which have left people on JobSeeker struggling to get by on $50 a day. What’s worse, the Government still hasn’t ruled out going back to the brutal old Newstart rate of just $40 a day at the end of March.
“Last year we heard from people who were able to buy new clothes and shoes for the first time in years but now they’re again having to make hard decisions between covering rent, groceries and medical needs.
“Instead of short term measures and cuts to income support, we need to finally see a permanent and adequate increase to the base rate of JobSeeker of at least $25 a day more than the old Newstart rate, so that people can cover the basics and rebuild their lives.”