A grim day as millions plunged further into poverty

1 April 2021

ACOSS is concerned for the wellbeing of 3 million people including one million children, who will have a grim Easter and face a stark future as the Coronavirus Supplement ends with no adequate increase in a raft of social security payments.

From 1 April, JobSeeker will be cut by $50 a week seeing people go from $51/day to $44/day because of the loss of the $75 a week Coronavirus Supplement.

People who will be $50 a week worse off from today include:

  • 1.2million people on JobSeeker
  • 343,000 single parents, mostly women
  • 330,000 ppl on Youth Allowance and
  • 80,000 on AusStudy, AbStudy, Widow Allowance, and other income support.

The end of JobKeeper will see up to 250,000 people join the unemployment queue – with many having their weekly income drop from $500 a week to just $314 per week or $44day.

There are also a million people on temporary or student visas who still have no access to income support who continue to suffer.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“With coronavirus lockdowns in Queensland and NSW, as well as the slow roll-out of vaccinations, this pandemic is not over and yet the government is slashing income support for people doing it tough.”

“The Federal Government showed last year that we could protect millions of people from poverty by providing adequate income support and secure housing. It is shameful that they have reverted to punishing those with the least while giving generous tax relief to those with the most.”

“It is unconscionable that about 3 million people will return to extreme poverty while those on higher incomes will reap $2 billion per month in tax cuts between now and the end of September.

“It is a scandal and international disgrace that Australia is back to having one of the lowest rates of unemployment payment in the OECD – the second lowest behind Greece.”

“We know from personal testimonies and surveys that the majority of people on these very low income support payments will struggle even more to feed their families and keep a roof over their head.”

“They sink into debt because they can’t pay their energy bills, keep a car on the road or meet unexpected costs for appliances or computers.”

“We are facing a homelessness and housing affordability crisis as more people struggle to pay increasing rents.

“With the stronger than expected recovery the Government should have kept targeted JobKeeper support in hardest hit industries, like the Tourism, Hospitality and Arts sectors, instead of a mish-mash of grants and subsidies.

“The government must also lift payments to at least $65 a day so that the millions of people struggling without paid work or enough hours are at least living above the poverty line.