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Senate Inquiry into JobSeeker legislation inundated with 375 submissions in a few days

A huge number of submissions have now been uploaded to the Senate Community Affairs Committee considering the legislation before the Parliament to legislate the $25 a week permanent increase in JobSeeker and working age payments.  Previous legislation passed in November 2020 enshrined the end of the current $75 a week Coronavirus Supplement on 31/3/21.  A large number of the 375 submissions uploaded on 7/3/21 are from individuals receiving payments and directly affected.  You can read the Anti-Poverty Week submission here.

The legislation must pass in the next sitting weeks in order for recipients to receive the increase on 1 April (otherwise their payments return to ~$40 a day base rate).  The legislation also enshrines changes to the income free area, which although a small increase on pre-COVID levels, is an effective cut in the amount a current jobseeker can earn before losing their income support payments.  The amount will reduce from $300 per fortnight ($150 per week) to $150 per fortnight ($75 per week).  This means a jobseeker currently earning $300 per fortnight will be $40 a week worse off, in addition to the $50 a week cut in base payment.

The Inquiry is only hearing evidence for a few hours on 9 March and it will report on 12 March.  (See here for details including the list of witnesses called to appear which was unusually announced before submissions closed on 5/3/21.)