Raise the Rate Open Letter

March 2024

The Letter

Dear Prime Minister,

There are more than one million people receiving income support payments that are so low that they force people to choose between paying their rent or buying enough food.  

Unfortunately, the number of people in this position is set to rise. The Reserve Bank expects 120,000 more people to be out of paid work by next year.  

The job market is already extremely competitive for people on income support. In December 2023, Anglicare found that there were 26 people on Jobseeker competing for each entry-level job.  

The longer people remain on income support, the harder it is to transition into paid work. Right now, 80% of people receive the Jobseeker payment for 12 months or more.  

To protect people from being left behind, we urge you to adopt the priority recommendation of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee and substantially lift income support so everyone can cover the basics. 

Lifting Jobseeker is not only the right thing to do for people; it would soften the effects of a downturn and help stabilise the economy. 

At $55 a day, the current rate of Jobseeker is not enough to cover the essentials like food and medicine let alone get a haircut or buy a new shirt for a job interview.  

While the $20 a week increase announced at the May Budget was welcome, it was not enough to prevent widespread distress and deprivation. 

In September 2023, ACOSS research found that three quarters of people receiving income support ate less or skipped meals and 6 in 10 had difficulty affording the medical care they needed.  

We cannot leave people with the least behind. We call on the Federal Government to substantially increase Jobseeker, Youth Allowance, and related income support payments to ensure everyone has the support they need during tough times. 

Sign the letter

We need to leverage the power of our collective voice to call for an increase to income support.

We’ve put together an open letter from diverse voices across the community urging the government to raise the rate.

Will you sign on to the letter?

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