Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh says federal MPs must do the right thing and block the $300 per fortnight cut for recipients of income support.
“Federal members of parliament will make a conscious choice this week to keep our local economies afloat and our children out of poverty, or to rip much needed supports from the hands of more than 400,000 Queenslanders, when they vote on whether to reduce the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments” says Ms McVeigh.
The crucial vote comes just as analysis released by Anti-Poverty Week shows 230,000 Queensland children will be plunged into poverty if the JobSeeker payment is reduced by $300 per fortnight.
The analysis joins a new study by the ANU’s Social Research Centre that shows the increase in income support payments has meant poverty has been virtually eliminated in Australia.
QCOSS analysis shows increased income support payments have injected more than $1.4 billion extra into Queensland’s economy since the end of April. The proposed $300 per fortnight cut will result in more than $114 million being ripped from the Queensland economy each fortnight.
“The government made the right decision to introduce a supplement to the JobSeeker payment at the start of the crisis, recognising that the base rate of $40 per day is simply not enough to live on,” says Ms McVeigh.
“There is broad support for a permanent increase to the JobSeeker payment so that people can cover the basics and rebuild their lives. The current payment with the Coronavirus Supplement means recipients can cover the basics – they can feed their kids, keep a roof over their head, pay their electricity bills and go to the doctor when they need to. It also means they spend their money in their local economies – the most effective form of economic stimulus.
“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.
“Ripping away crucial supports like the COVID supplement just as Queensland’s unemployment rate has reached 8.6 per cent, with some regions like Wide Bay reaching more than 17 per cent, is madness.”