Across the country, people on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance are contacting their local members of Parliament to tell them why we cannot go back to $40 per day, as part of the Raise the Rate for Good campaign’s National Day of Action.
A wide range of organisations are showing their support through an open statement calling for a permanent and adequate increase to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and related payments to cover the basics, so everyone can put a roof over their head and food on the table.
Signatories include the Australian Medical Association, Cancer Council Australia, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, the Country Women’s Association, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, People with Disability Australia, the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children, and Council on the Ageing Australia.
The National Day of Action coincides with the release of a survey by Anglicare Australia showing that, under the old Newstart rate of just $40 a day, people without paid work were having to turn to charity to get by on the basics, with 1 in 2 people (44 percent) who came to Anglicare for help needing help for a year or more and 40 percent supporting children.
A recently released survey by the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children of parents receiving the temporarily increased JobSeeker payment found nearly 7 in 10 said their family was healthier due to having enough food to eat and healthier options.
Many supporters will be taking selfies with canned food to symbolise why we can’t turn back to $40 per day, when people were regularly skipping meals and unable to afford nutritious food, and uploading these to social media, using #RaisetheRateforGood. In areas where it’s safe to do, some supporters will be dropping off letters sharing their stories at MPs’ offices. Others will be calling and emailing their MPs’ offices.
Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie said:
“There’s broad agreement that we need to work together to get through this crisis and that we cannot turn back to the brutality of leaving people without paid work to try to get by on just $40 per day – the old Newstart rate.
“As we continue to deal with this health crisis, more people than ever before will struggle to find paid work. There is currently only one job vacancy available for every 13 people receiving JobSeeker.
“We’re calling on the Government to announce in the mini budget on July 23 a permanent, adequate increase to income support that allows people to cover the basics – housing, food, public transport, bills – so that they can rebuild their lives,” Dr Goldie said.