The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) released a survey of people receiving the Federal Government’s Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight this week. The results show
- 93% of respondents said they were now able to afford fresh fruit and vegetables
- 83% reported eating healthier and more regularly
- 75% said they were able to pay their bills
- 69% said they were now able to pay for essential medical and health treatments
- 65% said it was easier to pay rent or move to safer accommodation.
Prior to the supplement, 74% of respondents skipped meals. Of those who skipped meals, 28% skipped 1 meal a day or more. More than 9 out of 10 people in a national survey reported that the removal of the new JobSeeker rate would have a significant or extreme impact on their ability to cover the cost of essentials. The rate is due to cease in late September although there are promising indications the Government is considering a permanent increase. Speaking on the ABC TV show The Drum on 24/6/20, prominent First Nations leader Pat Turner said the ACOSS survey shows how the $550 Coronavirus Supplement is allowing people to eat nutritional food, pay electricity and rent. As Pat said “these are hardly luxuries and are measures every Australian should be able to enjoy. People should be able to live on a decent level of income support while they are looking for work.”
Anti-Poverty Week is supporting the Raise the Rate for Good campaign and urging everyone to take action ahead of the Economic Statement on 23 July when the changes are likely to be decided. See our Promotional Kit if you’d like to join in the call for these payments to be permanently increased above the poverty line.