A 96 cents a day increase leaves people in poverty

ACOSS is calling on the Federal Government to commit to substantially boosting income support payments as JobSeeker increases by 96 cents a day following routine indexation.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said:

“Today’s changes will still leave more than one million people relying on JobSeeker and related payments struggling to survive, with JobSeeker rising by just 96 cents a day to $55 a day.

“It is completely insufficient for people who are barely surviving, forced to ration food and medicine or suffer through sweltering heat because they cannot afford to cool their homes. 

“It is vital the government immediately lifts the rate of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, and related payments to the new pension rate of $80 a day so that people can cover basic costs.”

Former truck driver Cliff Fraser relies on JobSeeker after suffering a series of injuries. He and his wife have been forced to move into a caravan and skip showers to save money.

Mr Fraser’s income fell from $120,000 a year to $17,000 after losing his trucking licence following a heart attack. A subsequent car crash left him with a neck injury that left him unable to work.

“We have no social life, we don’t go out,” the 64 year old from Central Victoria said.

‘When we go into town to Bendigo, we go to the swimming pool and have a shower. We’re on tank water in the caravan, and we need to conserve that and buy as little water as possible.

“Half of our meals are mince and anything else is the cheapest cut. We’ll go into the supermarket late in the day if we want biscuits and buy what’s on special.”

Dr Goldie said it was wrong for the government to condemn people such as Mr Fraser to poverty.

“The government must raise the rate of income support so people like Cliff are not left behind. 

“With unemployment expected to rise this year, lifting income support is not only the right thing to do; it provides an essential buffer against falling living standards and rising job losses.”