Today, ACT Greens Member for Brindabella Johnathan Davis MLA has responded to a motion in the ACT Legislative Assembly from the Leader of the Canberra Liberals calling on the ACT Government to establish a ‘Poverty Taskforce’, demanding they put up or shut up – either endorse The Australian Greens #RaiseTheRate campaign or admit that they are not serious on the question of addressing the rising rates of poverty and inequality.
“An immediate rise of all income support payments above the Henderson poverty line is the quickest and easiest way to address poverty in this country” Mr Davis said.
“That the Leader of the Canberra Liberals is prepared to wilfully ignore that in order to make a political point demonstrates that she nor her team can be taken seriously on the question of poverty in this city”
“Don’t take my word for it – read the ‘2022 ACTCOSS ACT Cost of Living Report’ that says ‘Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic we saw poverty and inequality reduce in a time of recession and rise during the period of economic recovery. As we observed in our 2021 ACT Cost of Living Report, despite the deepest recession in a century and record high unemployment, income inequality and poverty declined during the first wave of the pandemic due to robust income supports in the form of the JobKeeper Payment and the Coronavirus Supplement. In the ACT this meant that while the number of people receiving JobSeeker and Youth Allowance (other) more than doubled, our poverty rate dropped from a pre-COVID estimate of 8.6% to 5.2% by October 2020. The withdrawal of JobKeeper and the Coronavirus Supplement saw the poverty rate in the ACT increase to approximately 9.0%, representing an estimated 38,300 Canberrans – including approximately 9,000 children.”
The terms of reference for the inquiry proposed by the Leader of the Canberra Liberals are identical to the terms of reference for the brand new Senate inquiry into poverty and the cost of living, instigated and chaired by the Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice.
“The Leader of the Canberra Liberals appears to derive a lot of policy inspiration from the Australian Greens. I call on the Leader of the Canberra Liberals to lean into that. Lean in to her interest in the Australian Greens work on poverty and the cost of living. Join the Australian Greens #RaiseTheRate campaign and support our calls on the new Albanese Labor Government to raise all income support payments above the Henderson poverty line to at least $88 per day”.
“The Leader of the Canberra Liberals couldn’t bring herself to do that while the Federal Coalition was in power, but maybe now that there is a Federal Labor Party to attack, we might be able to get her on board” Mr Davis concluded.