QCOSS joins hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals who today are calling on the Federal Government to Raise the Rate of the JobSeeker Payment for good.
Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh says Australia cannot turn back to the old Newstart rate of $40 per day, and that a permanent and adequate increase to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income support payments is needed.
“We need to consider the real consequences that would come with the federal government choosing to decrease the rate of JobSeeker payment,” Ms McVeigh says.
“Queensland’s unemployment rate stands at 7.9 per cent, the highest it’s been in 18 years, and recent advice shows that a return to the old rate of JobSeeker will result in one in five children living below the poverty line.
“Clearly, this is an unacceptable outcome. Such a choice would be a conscious decision by the federal government to force people under the poverty line and needing to forego essentials like paying their electricity bill and eating three square meals a day.
“That is not the kind of country we want to live in – we need to be supporting each other in these uncertain times by Raising the Rate of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income support payments permanently to ensure that all Queenslanders can afford the basics in life.”
The National Day of Action will bring organisations across the business, union and community sectors, and people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 together to show their support for Raising the Rate permanently.
Ms McVeigh warns that the recession will be long and that no matter how desirable it is, the economy will not simply ‘snap back’.
“There is currently only one job vacancy available for every 15 people on JobSeeker or Youth Allowance in Queensland.
“We must work together – all sectors and the federal and state governments – to emerge from this crisis. An important first step on this journey will be to ensure that all Australians can afford to engage in the economic recovery by being able to cover the basics.”