St Vincent de Paul Society NSW disappointed with jaundiced proposed JobSeeker changes

23 February 2021

A wafer-thin increase of JobSeeker that potentially comes at the cost of leaving some people worse off and still below the poverty line is completely inappropriate.

“While those of us campaigning for a permanent increase to JobSeeker will never knock back the rate going up, it’s hard not to be sceptical at the numbers being discussed.

“Importantly, we haven’t seen evidence JobSeeker will be raised above the poverty line.

“On top of this, the proposed increases we’re seeing being discussed could very well come at the cost of ancillary benefits and this would leave some worse off.

“None of this will ease the struggle to make ends meet that people receiving JobSeeker constantly face,” St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO, Jack de Groot, said.

“JobSeeker will remain poorly named – as when people are struggling to afford the basics like food and rent, they do not have the money to spend on looking for work.

“This will continue the JobSeeker legacy of enforced subsistence living and people who receive it turning to charities like St Vincent de Paul for help.

“In 2020, more than a third of people who sought assistance from Vinnies in NSW were receiving JobSeeker or its predecessor Newstart.

“About half of them needed help to buy food.

“We saw a 75 percent drop in calls for help from people receiving JobSeeker when the full COVID supplement was being paid.

“As it’s been reduced, we’ve seen demand for help from people receiving unemployment benefits climb back up.

“People receiving JobSeeker should not be forced into a position where they require help from charities, especially in the numbers we are seeing them.

“Vinnies has been a loud voice in the campaign to raise the rate permanently.

“What we’ve seem proposed is not nearly enough to help people who are forced into making terrible decisions between paying rent and eating.

“With its sustained low JobSeeker rate, the Government is choosing to enforce poverty on people and that isn’t good for anyone,” Mr de Groot said.

Media contact:      Lachlan Jones  |  0417 446 430