Mission Australia’s response to JobSeeker announcement 21 July 2020
- Disappointing that government yet to commit to permanent increase to JobSeeker income support.
- Commonwealth Government is ignoring much needed investment in new social and affordable homes to help end homelessness and create jobs as part of COVID-19 recovery.
Adequacy of income support
Mission Australia CEO James Toomey said: “With the JobSeeker COVID supplement slated to be reduced from September but continued until at least December, we are incredibly disappointed the Federal Government hasn’t taken this opportunity to lock in a permanent floor to income support that keeps people out of poverty.
“The recent doubling of income support for people facing unemployment, from Newstart to the JobSeeker Payment with COVID Supplement has made a tangible difference to the lives of thousands, including many people in need that Mission Australia serves.
“A permanent increase to income support payments would go a long way in injecting more money into the economy and relieve the pressure on organisations like Mission Australia who provide emergency relief and homelessness services. We can’t turn back to $40 a day at the end of the year. This will return people to poverty and leave them unable to meet their basic needs, including housing at Christmas and into 2021. Even before COVID-19, 253 requests for homelessness assistance were unable to be met on any given day across our country.
“As the number of people who are unemployed rises, we urge the Federal Government to commit to permanently lifting income support payments to not only lift people out of poverty, but also ensure they can regain control of their finances, access transport, and other resources to look for work and be job ready.
“We welcome the extension of JobKeeper support that will provide some certainty past September for people and businesses in these precarious times.”
Homelessness and housing
In response to the Federal Government’s income support announcements today ahead of the Economic Statement and the October Federal Budget, Mission Australia CEO James Toomey said the Government risks pushing even more people into homelessness and unsafe living conditions with no commitment to investing in new social and affordable homes in sight.
“Investing in new social and affordable homes is a glaringly obvious solution that would not only enormously contribute to ending homelessness in Australia but will also create much needed jobs in the construction industry.
“Unfortunately, our Federal Government continues to avoid the growing need for long-term investment to address the critical shortage of social and affordable homes across our country which also offers a fast and assured prospect of creating much needed jobs.
If there is no commitment to investing in more social and affordable homes in the October Federal Budget, even more people will be pushed into homelessness and unsafe living situations.
“Homelessness is only increasing, and at least 116,000 people in Australia don’t have a safe, secure place to call home or are teetering on the cusp of homelessness.
“The trials of drought, bushfires and now a pandemic have reaffirmed in the hearts of all of us that having secure place to call home is crucial. Everyone here in Australia should have a safe place they can call home to stay well, work, access education and healthcare and connect with local community.
“As the Federal Government puts measures in place for COVID-19 economic recovery, no one should be left behind. COVID-19 has further exposed that safe, affordable and appropriate housing is essential infrastructure and a vital foundation of health and wellbeing for everyone.
“When the Federal Budget 2020-21 is handed down this October, we call for a Budget commitment to building at least 500,000 new social and affordable homes by 2030, with at least 30,000 of those delivered in the next four years to ensure that every person in Australia has a safe place to call home. Now is the time for a national plan to end homelessness in Australia.”
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