Almost million people with least now locked down in financial distress: Parliament must urgently fix social security to respond to national public health crisis

With Parliament sitting this week, the Australian Council of Social Service is calling on the Federal Government to fix our social security system for good in order to reduce the uncertainty and distress of lockdowns.

On Sunday, there were more than one million people on income support locked down, most of whom receive JobSeeker which is just $44 a day. There are around 260,000 young people and students affected, whose payments are even less at $36 per day.
An estimated three quarters – almost 900,000 – were not be able to get the Covid Disaster Payments because they do not qualify (as they had less than 8 hours paid work going into the lockdown), despite being restricted in finding paid work due to lockdown.

Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:
“With Parliament sitting this week, the government can fix our social security system for good to reduce the huge degree of uncertainty and distress people face when lockdowns hit.

“We have lockdowns continuing in our two most populated states – it’s never been clearer that we need stable and adequate income support in place so that people and businesses can get through this long-running crisis.

“The fastest and safest way for people to stay safe is to get access to adequate income support and stay home, not be out trying to get food relief or paid work because they can’t cover the basics in lockdown.

“If we had an adequate social security system in place that ensured nobody was left to struggle on just $44 a day, we could blunt the severe shocks that sudden, albeit necessary, lockdowns inflict on lives and the economy.”