QCOSS analysis shows reducing JobSeeker will rip $41 million from Queensland’s economy every week

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Today it has been reported that the federal government is considering a permanent increase to the old Newstart rate ($40 a day) of around $10 a day. This would come into effect for people on the JobSeeker payment, once the Coronavirus Supplement, which effectively doubled the old rate to $80 a day, phases out in September.

Analysis of the unemployment rate in the state and its regions by Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) shows that up to $41 million could be ripped from Queensland’s economy each week if the Coronavirus supplement is phased out in favour of a $75 per week increase to the old rate of Newstart.

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh says people are looking towards an uncertain future.

“With unemployment rates on the rise, we need to think about what kind of country we want to live in and how we can support each other in these uncertain times,” she said.

“To provide people with security, we need to the Raise the Rate of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income support payments permanently and ensure that all Queenslanders can afford the basics in life.

“Whilst it’s encouraging to see the federal government acknowledge that living on $40 a day is inadequate, a $10 a day increase does not go far enough.

“The current rate of $80 a day means people are able to afford the very basics in life – a roof over their heads, enough food on the table, enough money to catch public transport or fill up their fuel tank.

“The Coronavirus supplement means that people who receive income support are finally living just above the poverty line. Removing those supports in September is a conscious choice by the federal government to force people to live below the poverty line.

“The latest unemployment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that 205,900 Queenslanders, 7.9 per cent, are unemployed. This is the highest rate of unemployment in 18 years.

“With the removal of the JobKeeper subsidy to occur in September as well, we do expect that the unemployment rate could rise further. Even if it doesn’t, 205,900 Queenslanders seeing their income support reduce by $200 a week could mean up to $41,180,000 less going into Queensland’s economy every single week.

“There must be an adequate, permanent increase to the JobSeeker payment that ensures people can afford the basics. What’s been reported today is effectively a $200 per week cut to the current rate. This would be a disaster for people on income support and Australia’s economy as a whole.

“We need to work together and support each other to emerge from this economic crisis.”

 

REGION-SPECIFIC ANALYSIS AS PER QCOSS:

  • In Brisbane, there are 99,700 unemployed persons according to ABS data for May 2020. A $200 decrease in the JobSeeker payment rate could result in up to $19,940,000 less into the local Brisbane economy each week.
  • On the Gold Coast, there are 29,300 unemployed persons according to ABS data for May 2020. A $200 decrease in the JobSeeker payment rate could result in up to $5,860,000 less into the local Gold Coast economy each week.
  • On the Sunshine Coast, there are 14,800 unemployed persons according to ABS data for May 2020. A $200 decrease in the JobSeeker payment rate could result in up to $2,960,000 less into the local Sunshine Coast economy each week.
  • In Cairns, there are 12,300 unemployed persons according to ABS data for May 2020. A $200 decrease in the JobSeeker payment rate could result in up to $2,460,000 less into the local Cairns economy each week.
  • In Townsville, there are 8,800 unemployed persons according to ABS data for May 2020. A $200 decrease in the JobSeeker payment rate could result in up to $1,760,000 less into the local Townsville economy each week.
  • In Toowoomba, there are 5,000 unemployed persons according to ABS data for May 2020. A $200 decrease in the JobSeeker payment rate could result in up to $1,000,000 less into the local Toowomba economy each week.
  • In the Wide Bay region, there are 12,400 unemployed persons according to ABS data for May 2020. A $200 decrease in the JobSeeker payment rate could result in up to $2,480,000 less into the local Wide Bay economy each week.
  • In the Central Queensland region, there are 11,600 unemployed persons according to ABS data for May 2020. A $200 decrease in the JobSeeker payment rate could result in up to $2,320,000 less into the local Central Queensland economy each week.
  • In the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday region, there are 5,300 unemployed persons according to ABS data for May 2020. A $200 decrease in the JobSeeker payment rate could result in up to $1,060,000 less into the local Mackay Isaac Whitsunday economy each week.

Assumption involved: all unemployed people in each region, as reported by the ABS, are eligible for the JobSeeker payment.

Information on unemployment rates in Queensland regions can be found on the ABS website.

28 June 2020 |Focus area: ,