Yesterday I sought the support of the Senate to disallow the reintroduction of the liquid assets test waiting period for new claims for JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance and Austudy made from 25 September.
I am very disappointed that the Senate did not support the Greens disallowance motion to ensure that people who lose their jobs can get access to income support as soon as possible during this crisis.
It is very unfair to make people use up almost all of their savings before they can access income support. It leaves them in a very precarious position.
For many people the only way they can survive on JobSeeker is by supplementing that income with what little savings they have. This could be the difference between hanging on with the mortgage or rent until they find more work – or losing the family home.
Making people wait before accessing that safety net during these uncertain times is not only unfair, but also irresponsible and it will have a chilling effect on the wider economy. Over the long term, this system entrenches poverty and disadvantage.
It is particularly difficult for older workers who lose work and who will have to use up their retirement savings before they can get JobSeeker. It’s particularly tenuous for older women who have found themselves out of work.
We will see thousands retire into poverty because the government has made them wear down their savings in a job market with very limited opportunities.
Reintroducing the liquid asset test is mean spirited and unfair in the midst of a recession.