Central Victorian JobSeeker (formerly NewStart) recipients have shared their experiences since receiving a higher payment rate, due to the $550 Coronavirus supplement.
Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters said concerns are growing, with the rate set to snap back to around $40 a day, or $567.70 a fortnight in just 85 days.
“After speaking with a number of JobSeeker recipients and local relief organisations, it’s clear that the boost in the rate is allowing people to get out of poverty and live with dignity,” Chesters said.
“Come September, JobSeeker will be in higher demand than ever with JobKeeper payments also set to end, despite the continuing pandemic.
“Simply ‘snapping-back’ to the base rate would push people into poverty, make it harder to find work, and risk derailing the economic recovery.
“The base rate is so low it’s a barrier to finding work, with many people unable to afford essentials, transport, clothing, training and tools they need to find work.
“The Government must raise the base JobSeeker rate.” Chesters said.
Local JobSeeker recipient, Sharron Jamison, says her life has turned around since receiving a higher rate.
“The extra money has made a world of difference,” Jamison said.
“All of a sudden I went from facing poverty, homelessness and being quite frightened, to receiving enough money to keep a roof over my head and start to think about other issues like finding work and addressing health issues.
“It’s given me a sense of normality, yet it’s still only enough to get by.
“We had a Prime Minister stand up who was so proud about helping people through a pandemic with JobSeeker and JobKeeper. Why doesn’t that kind on thinking continue beyond this?
“I’m really worried about going back to that lower rate in September,” Jamison said.