600 people were surveyed last week about the current income support payment before the Federal Government announced the Coronavirus supplement would be further reduced from December,
The survey, conducted at the request of Anglicare WA, found 87 percent of respondents thought the income support payment should either remain at the current level of $408 a week or be increased. Nearly of quarter said the rate should be much higher.
Anglicare WA CEO Mark Glasson said for the first time in history, people experiencing entrenched unemployment were briefly lifted out of poverty.
“When the Coronavirus supplement was first rolled out, it lifted thousands of Australians out of poverty. They were able to afford accommodation costs, pay bills, fill prescriptions and most importantly, put healthy food on the table, rather than surviving on two-minute noodles,” said Mr Glasson.
“They were offered a lifeline by the Federal Government and were starting to get their lives back on track so they could begin to look for work.
“But now, they’re gradually being forced back into hardship, back into poverty. It’s cruel and we know it’s impacting the mental health of recipients, who are experiencing increasing anxiety as their payments decease, but the availability of suitable work just isn’t there.”
Mr Glasson said this new survey highlighted the Morrison Government needs to listen to the community.
“We know getting a job isn’t as simple as ‘if you have a go, you’ll get a go’, especially if you’re long-term unemployed. The longer someone is out of work, the harder it is to find work, let alone secure stable, sustainable employment.
“JobSeeker recipients aren’t living the high-life on the Coronavirus supplement. It’s less than JobKeeper, it’s much lower than the minimum wage, and it’s again below the Poverty Line. Truth be told - the majority of JobSeeker recipients, even at the current rate, would rather be working.
“This survey demonstrates yet again community services are not alone in calling for a permanent, sustainable increase in JobSeeker above the poverty line; economists, business and industry groups, even former Prime Minster John Howard know it needs to increase. And now the broader community.”
Of the 600 people surveyed support for permanently increasing the JobSeeker rate to the current level was higher amongst women (89 percent) compared to men (83 percent), while support increased the younger the respondents, with 89 percent support amongst under 34 years compared to 84 per cent amongst over 55s.
The inquiry was part of the recent People’s Voice survey of 600 people in the Greater Perth area, including Peel, conducted by Painted Dog Research.