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Call to link pension rises to JobSeeker

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Australia’s peak welfare group wants unemployment support payments to be raised in line with the pension, to prevent people from entering poverty.

 

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The Australian Council of Social Service has revealed its submission for the federal government’s May budget.

It wants payments such as JobSeeker and Youth Allowance to be permanently raised to pension levels.

For a single unemployed Australian that would mean receiving about $944 a fortnight, taking the payment to $67 a day instead of $40 on JobSeeker after the coronavirus supplement ends.

ACOSS chief Cassandra Goldie says there is twice the amount of people on unemployment payments compared to before the pandemic.

“It’s crucial that job creation plans are coupled with a permanent and adequate increase to the JobSeeker payment – we cannot leave people behind to struggle in the poverty trap as we get through this crisis,” Dr Goldie said.

“We need to work together as a community, as we have demonstrated we can do in dealing with successive outbreaks.”

ACOSS says the JobKeeper wage subsidy should not finish at the end of March but instead be extended for as long as needed to help industries affected by coronavirus restrictions.

The group is urging the government not to go ahead the second step of $17 billion in tax cuts for high income earners.

The budget submission also puts forward plans to construct 20,000 to 30,000 social housing homes and a national strategy to improve energy efficiency in low-income households.

This would create tens of thousands of jobs, ACOSS says.

-AAP

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