Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh says the new rate of the COVID supplement for JobSeeker payment recipients will force people into impossible decisions and rip money out of Queensland’s economy.
“The government made the right decision to introduce a supplement to the JobSeeker payment at the start of the crisis, raising it to $1,115 per fortnight, in recognition of the fact that the base rate of $40 per day is not enough to live on,” says Ms McVeigh.
“The increase softened the blow of the health and economic crisis by ensuring people relying on income support could feed their kids, keep a roof over their head, pay their electricity bills and go to the doctor when they needed to. It also meant that they were able to spend money in their local economies.
“With the decision today to decrease the COVID supplement by $300 per fortnight, the federal government will force almost 400,000 Queenslanders and their families to choose which basic services they will now go without,” says Ms McVeigh.
QCOSS analysis shows the COVID Supplement has injected more than $1.25 billion extra into the Queensland economy since the end of April. The decrease to the supplement will result in more than $57 million being ripped from the Queensland economy each week. Queensland’s unemployment rate is 7.9 per cent, the highest rate in 18 years.
“A permanent and adequate increase to income support is good for families, our community and our economy.
“There is broad support for a permanent, adequate increase to the JobSeeker payment so that people can cover the basics and rebuild their lives. Governments must continue to step up in crisis. Even without a global pandemic, losing your job is a crisis and people need support to get through the tough times,” says Ms McVeigh.