Central Victorian JobSeeker recipients are less than one month away from a rate cut of $300 a fortnight, despite the continuing COVID19 pandemic.
Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters said it’s not fair that payments are reduced whilst Victorian lockdown continues.
“Whilst stage three restrictions are in place, at a minimum, the JobSeeker rate and supplement should be maintained.”
The Coronavirus Supplement will be cut by $300 a fortnight from $550 to $250 on September 24. The current JobSeeker rate for singles is $565.70 a fortnight, plus the coronavirus supplement of $550 (totalling $1115.70).
Lisa Chesters also shared concerns that the lower payment will increase anxiety for many recipients, who are already worried about snapping back to the base rate of $565.70 a fortnight in December.
“I’ve spoken to many locals receiving the payment who are anxious that snapping back to the base rate in December will force them back into poverty,” Chesters said.
“When the Government introduced the Coronavirus Supplement in April, it was an admission that the base rate of JobSeeker Payment was too low,” Chesters said.
“The Morrison Government must lock in an ongoing JobSeeker base rate and it needs to be much higher than the current base rate of $565.70 per fortnight. The cost of living won’t suddenly become cheaper in 2021.
“The base rate of JobSeeker is so low that it presents a barrier to finding employment.
Many on the payment are unable to afford internet bills or transport costs, which are essential to people looking for work, or attending job interviews.
“It also forces people to make impossible choices between paying for food or paying the rent; between buying clothes for their children or paying for gas and electricity,” Chesters said.
As of July, there were 10,213 JobSeeker recipients (including Youth Allowance) in the Bendigo electorate, an increase from 5,783 in December.