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JobSeeker cuts push 155k Aussies into poverty

  • March 31 2021
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JobSeeker cuts push 155k Aussies into poverty

By Cameron Micallef
March 31 2021

A further 155,000 Australians will plunge into poverty as the coronavirus supplement ends tomorrow, new research has revealed.

JobSeeker cuts push 155k Aussies into poverty

JobSeeker cuts push 155k Aussies into poverty

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  • March 31 2021
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A further 155,000 Australians will plunge into poverty as the coronavirus supplement ends tomorrow, new research has revealed.

JobSeeker cuts push 155k Aussies into poverty

According to the Australian Institute’s Matt Grudnoff, the government’s choice to reduce welfare payments will mean there will be over a million more people living in poverty compared with March 2020, and 580,000 more people in poverty compared to the pre-COVID period. 

“This one policy measure shows that whether to leave Australians to live in poverty is a government choice,” said Mr Grudnoff, senior economist at the Australia Institute.

Research released by the Australian Institute shows the removal of the coronavirus supplement will see 155,000 people fall into poverty, including 20,000 children. 

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“If instead of cutting the coronavirus supplement, the government had instead chosen to restore the full $550 supplement, then half a million Australians would be lifted out of poverty, including 90,000 children,” Mr Grudnoff said. 

From 1 April 2021, welfare recipients will lose the extra $75 coronavirus supplement payment, which is slightly offset by receiving a $25 per week boost in welfare payments.

This means 1.95 million Australians who are currently on working-age payments will receive an increased $25 a week payment, including those on JobSeeker, Parenting Payment, Youth Allowance and Austudy.

The new JobSeeker rate for a single person with no children is $310 per week, or just $44 a day.

According to Henderson, poverty line for a single person is $561 per week, with welfare payments above this mark when the $550 coronavirus subsidy was first added to additional welfare payments. 

Mr Grudnoff said the initial $550-a-week supplement “lifted more Australians out of poverty than any other single government policy measure”, with half a million people raised above the poverty line.

However, with the COVID-19 economic recovery continuing, the government has decided to wind back its support, with the coronavirus supplement subsequently ending. 

According to the economist, this represents a lost opportunity to make significant improvements to the rates of poverty in Australia, including the number of children in poverty.

“The government has proved that it is possible to significantly reduce poverty in Australia. If the government increased Jobseeker by $550 a fortnight, the original coronavirus supplement rate, poverty rates would fall rather than increase,” he concluded. 

JobSeeker cuts push 155k Aussies into poverty
JobSeeker cuts push 155k Aussies into poverty
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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