Anti-Poverty Week, like many of our supporters and partner organisations, is deeply concerned that income security cuts announced on November 10 will create unnecessary poverty and hardship for millions of Australians including at least one in five children.
The Coronavirus Supplement was paid to around 2.2 million social security recipients on 9 October including 1.578 million relying on unemployment payments – 1.414 million receiving JobSeeker and 163,645 receiving Youth Allowance Other. Other payments receiving the Supplement include Parenting Payment Single and Partnered; AUSTUDY and Youth Allowance for students and apprentices. DSS has said the number of people who will need unemployment payments will increase to 1.8 million by December due to rising unemployment. That will mean there will be 2.5 million adults and more than 1.1 million children affected by the decision to cut payments by $50 a week.
That decision puts the base rate of payments to only $51 a day or $357 a week from 1 January to 28 March. This is $100 a week below the poverty line for a single person. Too many Australians were already experiencing deep poverty before the Supplement was introduced. Mothers skipped meals to feed their kids, people missed out on necessary medications and some older people went to bed at 5pm in winter because they couldn’t afford to warm their homes.
We all hope the economy and jobs market make a strong recovery from this terrible recession but that’s not going to be by March 2021. As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we can and must protect those most vulnerable. It’s simply the right thing to do. Read more at Women’s Agenda “Shaky employment recovery not the time to cut payments,” 24 August 2020.