The Morrison Government’s so-called increase to the JobSeeker payment of $50 a fortnight amounts to an extra $3.57 a day.
The Government says this act of astonishing cruelty is necessary for the budget – while giving $325 billion in tax breaks to people who don’t need it, including billionaires.
On April 1, 1.5 million people on the JobSeeker payment and Youth Allowance will be forced to live on just $44 a day - far below the poverty line. If we want people to be able to eat, clothe, and house themselves, they need $80 a day.
Poverty is a political choice - and the Government has decided to line the pockets of billionaires with tax cuts, while forcing millions of Australians into poverty.
They chose to lift people out of poverty when the COVID crisis began. They are now choosing to condemn people to just $44 a day in the middle of a recession due to a global pandemic.
$44 a day is not enough to live on. This will mean people go without meals, without medication, without the funds to pay for heating or cooling and may lose their homes.
People should not be going without meals and medication in a country as wealthy as Australia.
There are more than 1.5 million Australians currently looking for work in a job market with only 192,000 vacancies. There simply aren’t enough jobs to go around.
The Government hasn’t even undertaken any modelling to show how ending JobKeeper on March 28 will impact the number of people needing access to JobSeeker or other income support payments.
There are currently 1.1million people relying on JobKeeper. Unemployment, underemployment, and insecure work will continue to be persistent problems until the Government introduces real solutions.
There is very clear evidence that the income support system itself is acting as a key barrier to employment because of the inadequate payment rates that force people into poverty.
People are at a very real risk of becoming homeless as big banks end mortgage holidays, and state-based rental moratoriums are lifted.
This so-called increase will take Australia’s payment from the lowest in the OECD to the second-lowest after Greece .
The Greens are calling for the Government to increase JobSeeker to at least $1115 a fortnight.
It should not be Government policy for people to live below the poverty line on just $44 dollars a day.
The Greens support all unemployed workers and will not stop campaigning until we have an increase to JobSeeker that is over the poverty line.
$25 a week is shit.— Rachel Siewert (@SenatorSiewert) February 22, 2021