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'Plunge into poverty' warning over JobSeeker cut


The Morrison government has been warned that reducing the JobSeeker dole payment to its pre-pandemic level after a coronavirus supplement ends on March 31 will result in a national crisis.

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Social advocacy body Anglicare Australia says its polling of service agencies across the country showed that 100 per cent of respondents said any cut will see more people needing help.

The government is adamant that the coronavirus supplement with end in March as scheduled, but it is considering whether it will increase the rate of JobSeeker rather than allowing it to return to $40 a day.

“The old rate of JobSeeker was frozen for decades, leaving hundreds of thousands of people trapped in poverty,” Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers says.

“When the government raised the rate last year, it righted that wrong.”

Last April, the introduction of the coronavirus supplement effectively doubled the rate of JobSeeker to $557.85 per week.

The supplement was cut in September to leaving JobSeeker recipients with $407.85 per week and then that was reduced again in December to $357.85 per week.

Chambers said the supplement lifted people out of poverty overnight.

“Our clients told us they could finally feed their families, pay the rent, and plan for their future without making devastating trade-offs,” she said.

“Cuts will undo all of that work.”

She said the results of the poll show that agencies are worried more cuts will lead to a huge surge in clients who need help.

“With wage subsidies coming to an end, more people will be surviving on JobSeeker,” she said.

“A cut in March will plunge them into poverty, at a time when they should be planning their recovery.”

The JobKeeper wage is also due to end in March.


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