On September 25 the Government reduced the COVID Supplement by $300 a fortnight, dropping 1.8 million people on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance below the poverty line.
Research indicated that four in five people on JobSeeker will now be forced to skip meals and almost half of JobSeeker recipients will be forced to ration their medication.
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 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 December 31, there is no commitment from Government on additional funding beyond that date. From January 1 2021, people looking for work will go back to surviving on a payment of $40 a day.
Along with cutting the COVID Supplement, the Government has reintroduced the liquid assets and asset tests. This means that people who lost work due to the pandemic will be forced to wear down their savings before being able to access income support.
An increase to the JobSeeker payment must be long term, permanent and 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 can never go back to $40 a day.