ALP Conference backs JobSeeker policy to lift people out of poverty as unemployment increases

ALP Conference today amended its platform to call for JobSeeker and social security to keep people out of poverty, a move strongly welcomed by ACOSS. 

On Thursday afternoon, Labor members approved an amendment to clause 85 of the ALP national platform to specify that “keeping people out of poverty will be central to future changes in the social security system”. 

It comes as the unemployment rate increased from 3.5 per cent in June to 3.7 per cent, with the number of unemployed people increasing by 36,000 in July, according to ABS figures.

“The government must now listen to party members and increase income support to adequate levels to ensure that people can afford the basics of life,” said ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie.

“The cost of living crisis is putting enormous pressure on people on low incomes, many of whom are unable to heat their homes and are going without essentials like food and medication to afford their bills.

“This issue will only become more urgent with unemployment increasing and set to rise even further.”

Earlier on Thursday, ACOSS released Ipsos polling showing that 66 per cent of Labor voters in the Greens-targeted seats of Cooper, Wills, and Macnamara believe the rate of JobSeeker – which will be just $54 a day from September – is too low.

Also, 79 per cent of Labor voters in those three seats believe the rate of income support provided by the government should be adequate for people to afford basic daily essentials.

“It’s clear that Labor voters and members want to see a rate of income support that will keep people out of poverty,” said Dr Goldie.

“The government must urgently act to reduce poverty by lifting income support payments including JobSeeker and Youth Allowance to $76 a day.”