As Parliament sits, community services and housing charity Mission Australia is calling on the Federal Government to urgently commit to a permanent and adequate increase to JobSeeker and other related allowances.

The renewed call comes as the Federal Government is back in session, and ACOSS and sector organisations will be asking members of Parliament to permanently lift income support.

Mission Australia CEO James Toomey said: “As a charity that works with people experiencing and who are at risk of homelessness – many of whom rely on income support to survive – we are very concerned that there is still no certainty on income support levels beyond March.

“As it currently stands, the additional income support introduced by Government through the Coronavirus Supplement has been wound back and is now insufficient. Income support at this level does not, and will not, keep Australians out of poverty and homelessness. The situation will become worse again at the end of March if income support levels return to the old Newstart rate of $40 a day.

Far too many people who receive income support are facing incredible levels of stress and insecurity without any Government assurance of a sorely needed permanent increase to JobSeeker and other related payments.

“The time is now. Mission Australia is part of the growing chorus of voices calling for an urgent commitment from the Government to provide a permanent and adequate increase to income support payments. This will help lift people out of poverty and homelessness and go a long way helping people to regain control of their lives, wellbeing and finances, and access resources to seek work and be job ready.

“We have seen firsthand how last year’s doubling of income support through the Coronavirus Supplement for people facing unemployment made a significant difference to many Australians. It meant people could take significant strides towards gaining control of their finances and pay for housing, education, healthcare and other essentials.

Inadequate income support pushes people into stressful situations, homelessness and unsafe living conditions as it’s all they can afford. Alongside ongoing pandemic challenges and high unemployment and underemployment levels, this can greatly impact on people’s mental and physical wellbeing.

“As Australia transitions from crisis responses to recovery, turning back to $40 a day should be out of the question. Returning to these woefully low income support levels would be shattering for so many people who are already struggling to make ends meet. These punitive rates of income support would return people to poverty and push many into homelessness at a time when the Government should be ensuring people’s wellbeing.”

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