Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters has slammed the Federal Government’s latest JobSeeker cut, raising concerns for 10,000 locals receiving the payment.
“The Morrison Government will extend the JobSeeker supplement to March 28th and reduce the rate by another $100 per fortnight,” Chesters said.
“A cut of $100 per fortnight to households trying to survive on the smallest of incomes is just unfair and will leave many living in poverty.
“The Federal Government’s extension of Coronavirus Supplement to March at this much lower rate does not relieve anxiety for JobSeekers heading into most expensive time of year.
“Without confirmation of an ongoing rise to the base rate, JobSeeker recipients will continue to fear how they’ll live on just $500 a fortnight in a matter of months.
“The base rate actually prevented people from finding work and forced recipients to live in poverty, we can’t go back to that,” Chesters said.
As of September, 10,053 people in the Bendigo electorate are on JobSeeker or Youth Allowance payments compared to 5,921 in February (pre-covid).
“I’m calling on the Morrison Government to keep the Coronavirus Supplement at $250 a fortnight and confirm an ongoing rise to the base rate.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that this Government have not announced a permanent increase yet,” Chesters said.
Jenny Elvey from Bendigo Family and Financial Services said demand has risen over the past few weeks.
“We’ve had enquiries from 10-20 per cent more clients in the past few weeks than during pre-COVID times and 10 per cent of those people are in need of emergency relief,” Jenny said.
“A lot of people are falling through the cracks and for those on JobSeeker payments, the thought of going back to the base rate in a few months creates anxiety.
"Our service is coming into the busiest time of year. People have Christmas expenses followed by back to school expenses.
“The Coronavirus Supplement helped people survive when the pandemic led to increased costs including food and electricity from more family members being at home all day.
“We know the base rate wasn’t enough before COVID. Giving these people a little bit extra to get by but then ripping it away makes it even worse.”
TUESDAY 10 NOVEMBER