DSS data released last week confirms there are more than 1.1 million children with a parent receiving the Coronavirus Supplement (CVS). This sadly justifies our estimates and concerns from mid July – see our Media Release at least 1 million children with a parent receiving CVS. The Senate Committee on COVID-19 Answers to Questions on Notice #269 published on 19 August shows there were 1,143,916 children with a parent receiving CVS at 31 July 2020 (over half a million with a parent receiving JobSeeker and another nearly half a million receiving Parenting Payment Single). As at 30 June 2018, an estimated 4.7 million children aged 0–14 lived in Australia, according to Australia’s Children, AIHW, 3/4/20, so 1.1 million is more than 1 in 5, or 20% of all dependent children living in Australia.
Minister Ann Ruston could cancel the cuts with the stroke of her pen – she has the powers to extend the Supplement legislated in March and introduced on 27 April at the full rate of $275 per week ($550 pf), rather than extend it to 31 December at the lower level of $125 per week (announced on 21 July). We know it is protecting these individuals and families from poverty and helping lift so many, who were previously receiving Newstart, out of poverty. See our 2019 Fast Fact on Child Poverty and also the 550 Reasons to Smile campaign from National Council for Single Mothers and their Children collecting their stories. We know it’s helping women get the bond together to leave a situation of domestic violence, buy a family computer so kids can home school, put healthy food on the table three times a day and making it possible to repairs cars and pay for other essentials like regular medication. Especially for single parent families with high rates of poverty, this has been a game-changer. But we’re not out of the woods yet with COVID-19 and the labour market will be weak for a long time, making it hard to get work or more work. That’s why it’s so important we continue to have a decent income security system doing its job of protecting people from poverty.