Anti-Poverty Week welcomes the Federal Government’s decision to pay $200 a week to DSS recipients who lost more than 8 hours a week work during pandemic lockdowns. However we estimate only 1 in 4 of all recipients will qualify, leaving the vast majority on payments as low as $36 a day (Youth Allowance Other) or $44 a day (JobSeeker Payment). All are precluded from job searching and many are having to juggle caring for dependent children in very tough times. Last year the Federal Government did the right thing and provided $550 per fortnight Coronavirus Supplement, this year there is a $50 fortnight permanent increase only. The Greater Sydney lockdown may go on for many weeks, affecting some 550,000 DSS recipients and their children on the lowest payments. A significant proportion of Queensland is also now in lockdown.
At any time, any State/Territory/region could go into lockdown with this Delta variant which puts at risk 2.65 million people (1.7 million adults and an estimated 940,000 children) on the lowest DSS payments which are well below the poverty line. The Federal Government must act now to bring all payments above the poverty line.
See our 28 July letter to the Treasurer.