Report urges government to lift JobSeeker payments

The federal government has been urged to lift welfare payments, with a new study finding a majority of people could not live on the current JobSeeker rate.

Research from the Australian Council of Social Service and the University of NSW found 62 per cent of people thought government policies had contributed to poverty.

Of the 2000 Australians surveyed, 58 per cent said they could not live on JobSeeker, while just 23 per cent said they could make ends meet on the payment.

The maximum rate of JobSeeker for singles with no children is $53.51 a day, or just under $750 a fortnight, while the rate is $57.32 a day for over 55s, after nine months on income support payments.

The ACOSS research revealed 76 per cent believed the incomes of those earning the least were too low and needed to be increased.

The council’s acting chief executive Edwina McDonald said the findings showed the government needed to offer greater financial assistance to those on the payments.

“This survey shows popular support for the federal government to intervene to directly tackle poverty and the wealth gap that is threatening Australia’s social and economic fabric,” she said.

“Most people know it is simply not possible to live on the punishingly low rate of JobSeeker that traps people further into poverty.”

Three-quarters of those surveyed said poverty could be solved with the right systems and policies in place, with 69 per cent believing poverty to be a big problem in Australia.

While the JobSeeker rate was raised in September, Mission Australia chief executive Sharon Callister said the amount currently received by welfare recipients was inadequate.

“Australians want poverty eliminated in Australia and … most people believe current levels of income support aren’t enough to survive and make ends meet,” she said.

“We hope that the government will start to take community expectations seriously and implement real solutions like adequate income support to end poverty and poverty-induced homelessness in Australia.”


Andrew Brown
(Australian Associated Press)


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