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JobSeeker ‘lifestyle’ is one of poverty and $44 a day

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 27 Apr 2021

The Greens say Employment Minister Mr Robert’s cruel comments on the ‘lifestyle’ of people on JobSeeker are not based in any realm of reality in which Australians are living.

“It’s just nonsensical to tell people to get a job when in March there were 238, 700 jobs available and there are 1.5 million people on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments”, Senator Rachel Siewert said. 

“This Government is more than happy to fund the “lifestyles” of corporations with access to the JobKeeper payment to companies like Harvey Norman who have managed to make record profits in the midst of a recession and just today there are reports that the exclusive men's club, the Australia Club has pocketed $2m of government money – and managed to more than double its annual surplus – by keeping JobKeeper payments.

“While we remain in a pandemic and a recession and jobs are not there the Government should be supporting people, not blaming them for being in circumstances outside of their control. 

“Not only did the Government abandon 1.5 million people to live on $44 a day, research from ACOSS shows that  the community sector is now under extreme stress and unable to support the influx of people seeking assistance. 

“But instead of investing in people the Government is putting resources into punishing people looking for work, and which is set up to be open for abuses of power. 

“The Job Provider system (Jobactive) is already rife with bullying, harassment, of people being ignored or treated very poorly by their job providers and now the Government is empowering employers with the means to intimidate and bully Jobseekers.

“I’m extremely worried about the potential for young people to be coerced into situations where they may be harassed or taken advantage of with little recourse because their employer will “dob” them in. 

“The Government should stop blaming people who can’t find work that doesn’t exist and provide meaningful training and support to help people find real work opportunities.”

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