Don’t return to $40 a day JobSeeker after pandemic: poll

Most Australians think unemployment support should not return to its pre-coronavirus rate of $40 per day once the pandemic subsides.

May 05, 2020, updated May 05, 2020
People queue around the corner from an Adelaide Centrelink office. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

People queue around the corner from an Adelaide Centrelink office. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Essential polling shows 57 per cent of Australians think JobSeeker should not be cut to its previous amount, while 15 per cent were unsure.

The payment has been doubled to about $1100 a fortnight but the government says it will be slashed at the end of September.

Australian Council of Social Service chief Cassandra Goldie says the JobSeeker payment, formally known as Newstart, must be enough for people to survive.

“It’s clear we need a permanent fix to our social safety net. Our income support system was cruel before this crisis began,” Dr Goldie said.

“We can never go back to the brutality of trying to survive on $40 a day. We need a secure safety net that protects us all from poverty.”

The government has resisted pressure, even from conservatives, to increase the usual rate of the payment.

Labor supports an increase but hasn’t been specific as to the amount.

Dr Goldie says reducing the rate after coronavirus will stall recovery.

“We need a decent social security safety net in place that works at all times,” she said.

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