QCOSS has made a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs on the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Extension of Coronavirus Support) Bill 2020.
QCOSS is supportive of the extension to the Coronavirus Supplement. However, we do not support the current approach of reducing and phasing out income support supplements.
As a signatory to the Raise The Rate For Good campaign, QCOSS recommends:
- That the JobSeeker Payment and the Youth Allowance Payment (including the ‘Coronavirus Supplement’) be kept permanently in place so that it keeps people out
of poverty, with an income of $500 per week for a single person.
- The ongoing indexation of payments in line with wage movements at least twice per year.
- The establishment of a Social Security Commission to advise the Parliament on the ongoing adequacy of income support payments.
The Coronavirus Supplement has played a critical role in supporting the Queensland community and our economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between December 2019 and June 2020, the number of people in Queensland receiving Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (other) nearly doubled, increasing by 95 per cent. As of September 2020, 352,221 people in Queensland received income support payments boosted by the Coronavirus Supplement.
QCOSS’ research on living affordability in Queensland shows that the additional COVID-19 income support improved financial wellbeing of households below the poverty line, who are now able to afford a basic standard of living. This is supported by findings of a recent ACOSS national survey highlighting that people receiving increased income support were able to achieve better food security and accommodation.
With the unemployment rate in Queensland expected to remain as high as 8 per cent in June 2021, reducing the Coronavirus Supplement to $150 per fortnight will push thousands of Queenslanders back into poverty.
QCOSS does not support the government’s current approach of phasing out temporary income support payments. These payments are critical to providing support to thousands of Queenslanders. QCOSS strongly supports permanent increases to income support payments to address the chronic and systemic poverty in the State.