The Government has just announced that the COVID Supplement will be dropped by a further $100 a fortnight from December 31 and remain in place until 31 March 2021.
Research by ACOSS has shown that four in five people on JobSeeker were forced to skip meals and almost half of recipients were forced to ration their medication when the COVID Supplement was first reduced by $300 a fortnight on 25 September.
This is unacceptable especially as reports show that on average there are 12 jobseekers for every 1 job vacancy. Things are even more dire for people looking for entry level work. Research by Anglicare has shown that there are as many as 106 jobseekers for every 1 entry-level position.
The COVID Supplement is now due to end on March 31, and there is no commitment from Government on additional funding beyond that date. From 1 April 2021, people looking for work will go back to surviving on a payment of $40 a day if JobSeeker is not permanently increased.
Along with cutting the COVID Supplement, the Government has reintroduced the liquid assets test. This means that people who lost work due to the pandemic and recession will be forced to wear down their savings before being able to access income support.
There must be a permanent increase to the JobSeeker payment that ensures people can live above the poverty line. In the meantime we’ve introduced a bill to reinstate the COVID Supplement to its original rate of $550 a fortnight to keep people out of poverty during this pandemic. You can read about our JobSeeker bill here.
People looking for work must never go back to $40 a day.