Disappointing that Federal Government announced an inadequate level of JobSeeker income support that will push many into poverty and homelessness.

In response to the Federal Government’s announcement that income support payments will rise only a fraction - keeping people who rely on them living in poverty - Mission Australia is calling on the Federal Government to urgently reconsider the decision, and commit to an adequate increase to JobSeeker and related allowances.

Mission Australia CEO James Toomey said: “Every day, we work alongside people who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness and many rely on income support just to survive.

The new JobSeeker rate announced by the Government is insufficient. To increase the rate by only $50 a fortnight is an appalling decision. This rate is far too low, and we will see the continuing impacts of this on rates of disadvantage, poverty and homelessness in Australia.

“Already, many people surviving on income support are facing immense distress and insecurity. Moving to a JobSeeker rate of $615.70 a fortnight – or around $44 a day – is unfathomable and will not help get people back into work.

“Our Australian Government stood at the precipice of an historic opportunity to dramatically reduce poverty, reduce homelessness and change lives.

“We saw how much the Coronavirus Supplement helped people and allowed them to pay for basic necessities like rent, food, medicine, and resources for education and employment. It assisted people to regain control of their lives, wellbeing and finances, and access resources to seek work and be job ready.

This decision will force many people to survive on incomes that keep them living in poverty. Mission Australia continues to call on the Government to provide an adequate increase to income support payments.

“We know from the work we do that inadequate income support pushes people into stressful situations, homelessness and precarious living conditions.

“At a time when the Government should be safeguarding people’s wellbeing in the midst of high unemployment and underemployment levels, this punitive JobSeeker rate will undoubtedly have a negative impact.

“As our country transitions from COVID-19 crisis to recovery, this low JobSeeker rate should be out of the question. The news of this distressingly low level of income support will be crushing for so many people who are already struggling to make ends meet.”

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