The Australian Greens Party Room has today resolved to campaign to keep the raised rate of JobSeeker after the coronavirus pandemic, urging other parties not to cave into Scott Morrison’s efforts to halve income support and send over a million people below the poverty line.
“The new JobSeeker rate must be kept in full after the pandemic,” Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP said.
“Forecasts for the next year are grim and young people in particular are facing the prospects of long-term unemployment. With over a million people likely to be out of work when JobSeeker is halved, we need urgent action to make sure people are kept out of poverty.
“The cost of putting food on the table and a roof over your head won’t halve after the crisis, so neither should income support. If this rate is needed to make ends meet during the coronavirus financial crisis, it’s going to be needed afterwards. The government now has to justify why income support should be even a single cent less than it is today.
“The Greens have long campaigned for the appallingly low rate of Newstart to be increased, but we knew that small increases were just a step towards where it needed to be. The government has now admitted that people out of work need $1100 a fortnight to pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads. Now that we’ve got a more realistic rate of income support, we’re going to fight tooth and nail to keep it.
“We’re now calling on other parties to join our push to retain the rate. If we keep the pressure on over the next few months we could keep hundreds of thousands of Australians out of poverty.
Greens Community Services Spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said the evidence overwhelmingly showed that a retention of JobSeeker was necessary.
“The Greens are backing the calls of thousands of Australians who are urging the government to keep the Jobseeker payment above the poverty line,” Senator Siewert said.
"It is unacceptable for the Government to allow the rate of the Jobseeker Payment to return back to below the poverty line to payments of $40 a day in September, condemning what is likely to be over a million people to live in poverty.
"To meet the OECD relative measure of poverty a fortnightly income of at least $1012 is needed, keeping Jobseeker at its current rate would ensure people were not living in poverty.
“People on income support spend that money to make sure they’re looking after themselves and their children. Raising the rate isn’t just the right thing to do for people, it’s absolutely necessary to stimulate the economy.
“We can’t condemn over a million people into poverty while the world is recovering from the coronavirus crisis. The Government and Labor need to back in the community and the Greens, by locking in this increase at a minimum.”