ACOSS boss Cassandra Goldie is calling for the payments to be raised by $24 a day – around $336 a fortnight.
“People in Australia know that it is counter-productive and cruel to expect people to live on $45 a day, the current JobSeeker amount. It forces them to skip meals and medicines,” she said in The Age.
Household disposable income rose during pandemic
 
“Almost all of us had either a direct brush with unemployment or witnessed someone else experience a tough time.
“This is fresh in the minds of voters and they want politicians to build a post-pandemic society that guarantees if you fall on tough times, you will be supported to cover the basics.”
For more updates on Australian politics join Flash
Ms Goldie believes a increase in Jobseeker should be a top priority for the government at it prepares the mid-year budget due to the uneven economic recovery from the pandemic.
Polling conducted by ACOSS revealed that in five must-win marginal seats across the country, almost three quarters of voters agreed that JobSeeker should be above the poverty line.
The survey of 2588 people in the Liberal-held seats of Boothby (SA), Swan (WA), Longman (Qld) and the Labor-held seats of Blair (Qld) and Dobell (NSW) also showed that 56 to 70 per cent of those asked thought the current payment of $45 was too low.
Australia’s economy will ‘come back strongly’ after vaccination rates achieved
At the onset COVID-19 in March 2020 in which hundreds of thousands of Australian’s joined welfare queues, a supplementary JobSeeker payment of $550 a fortnight was introduced.
However, the Morrison government phrased it out a year later, resisting calls to make it permanent.
Although the base rate was raised in February to $620.80 a fortnight, those receiving the benefit are left below the poverty line – which is around $920 a fortnight.
Economists Chris Richardson and Nicki Hutley believe the strong support for raising JobSeeker – revealed by the survey – reflects that millions of Australians know someone who has received payments during the pandemic.
‘Building back better’: COVID recovery an opportunity to address economic ‘inequities’
Mr Richardson told The Age increasing the payments was the most important step toward “fairness in Australia”.
“Over a quarter of a century the minimum wage has increased much more than unemployment benefits…and the cost to the budget is about a third as much as you think it is,” he said.
He said that increases in benefit payments also have a positive flow-on benefit to the economy.
“If you give money to poorer people in Australia they will spend it, and they tend to spend it locally.”

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *