When the existing base rate of $40 a day is barely over half the Henderson poverty line, a $3.50 increase is totally inadequate, and will do little to nothing to end the cycles of hardship that trap people on the payment.
Even worse, further tightening mutual obligations will force people to put their physical and mental health at risk. Thousands of people will have to continually apply for jobs that simply don’t exist. It’s an onerous, needless and humiliating imposition that actively makes peoples’ lives worse.
GetUp is supporting calls to increase JobSeeker to $80 a day, equal to the current Australian poverty line.
GetUp National Director Paul Oosting said:
“This isn’t a raise in the JobSeeker rate — it’s a half-arsed PR exercise that will entrench poverty and disadvantage for more than 1.2 million Australians who depend on JobSeeker to survive. The Morrison Government has thrown people on JobSeeker some crumbs and called it a raise. What it really is is an insult.
“Instead of a JobSeeker rate that would give people the means to live a decent and dignified life, Morrison has signalled to 1.2 million Australians that his government doesn’t care about their basic welfare or survival.
“The fact that the Government is planning to tighten mutual obligation requirements is a sick joke. There are roughly 2.3 million people applying for jobs, and only 250,000 jobs available – punishing people for being out of work is cruelty for cruelty’s sake.
“Any half-decent government would scrap the whole rotten mutual-obligations system altogether. Instead, the Morrison Government is doubling down on an industry that profits off unemployed peoples’ suffering.
“If the Morrison Government thinks that this joke of a rate raise will make this issue go away, they’ve got another thing coming. Parliament must act to raise the JobSeeker rate to $80 a day, in line with Australia’s current poverty line. Anything less is a despicable sham.”
Media contact: Alex McKinnon 0411 829 334
Paul Oosting, National Director at GetUp
Ed Miller, Economic Fairness Campaign Director at GetUp