Anglicare Australia says changes to JobSeeker will push people into poverty when they should be planning for their future.
“Changes to JobSeeker will push Australians into poverty just as they need to be getting on their feet,” said Anglicare Australia Acting Executive Director Imogen Ebsworth.
“Some 1.6 million people are locked out of work. Many have lost their jobs and their livelihoods. Thousands were locked out of work and living in poverty long before that.
“If the Government phases in these cuts, it will plunge hundreds of thousands of these Australians – and their children – into poverty as the world heads into a deep recession.”
Ms Ebsworth called on the Government to keep the JobSeeker rate above the poverty line permanently.
“People will be recovering from this pandemic for months and years to come. They need certainty. That means a permanent increase – not a delayed cut-off.
“Instead of helping people plan for their future, these changes will simply ‘phase in’ poverty.”
Ms Ebsworth said there was still time to avoid the mistakes of the past.
“The old rate of JobSeeker was frozen for almost three decades. It became a poverty trap, locking people out of work and forcing them to turn to agencies like ours just to get by.
“When Prime Minister Morrison lifted JobSeeker he righted that wrong, and gave hundreds of thousands of Australians a path out of poverty. Now is not the time to take that hope away.
“They must know that their new slashed rate is well below the poverty line. They are building a new trap.
“The Government can still choose to give people a pathway out of poverty, and stop children from being trapped in years hardship.
“It’s time for to the Government to raise the rate for good and end the poverty trap, instead of leaving people behind,” Ms Ebsworth said.