30 June 2020
The Australian Council of Social Service is calling on the Government to recognise the reality of the job market and housing costs in deciding the future of the JobSeeker payment.
• There is 1 job vacancy available for every 13 people on JobSeeker or Youth Allowance (ABS)
• The percentage of people not able to meet their regular housing costs rose from 6.9% in April to 15.1% in May – Australian National University research, released today
Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:
“We has just experienced the largest fall in jobs since the Great Depression. More people than ever before will struggle to find paid work. We’ve just seen 6,000 job losses at Qantas and thousands more in retail, including at Woolworths. There is currently only one job vacancy available for every 13 people on JobSeeker or Youth Allowance.
“People are desperate to find jobs but there are not enough available. The doubling of JobSeeker to the current rate $550 per week is still $200 per week less than the minimum wage.
“An inadequate JobSeeker payment makes it harder for people to find paid work. People need enough to cover the basics, including housing costs, and to avoid financial distress in order to be able to effectively search for paid work.
“Even with the doubling of the JobSeeker rate, Anglicare has found only 1.5% of rental properties are affordable nationally. The Director of the Australian National University Centre for Social Research is today warning a return to the old, low rate of Newstart would create a housing crisis.
“We must ensure people can keep a roof over their head and food on the table. It’s the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. The alternative would be to drag our economy further backwards, stifling job creation.
“People and businesses need confidence and hope for the future.
“We can’t go back to the brutality of $40 a day. We must see a permanent and adequate increase that ensures people on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance can cover the basics they need, including housing, as they try to rebuild their lives,” Dr Goldie said.