JobSeeker Cut Will Push 190,000 More People Under Poverty Line—including 50,000 Children

The Morrison Government’s decision to reduce the rate of JobSeeker to $150 from January 2021 will push an additional 190,000 Australians below the poverty line—including 50,000 children—and have a devastating impact on low income families, shows new research by The Australia Institute.

The Federal Government has announced it intends to cut the JobSeeker supplement again, by $100 per fornight from January 2021. The Australia Institute’s state-by-state breakdown shows this will see:

  • 53,000 more people in Queensland pushed into poverty, including 17,000 children.
  • 52,000 more people in Victoria pushed into poverty, including 16,000 children.
  • 51,000 more people in New South Wales pushed into poverty, including 10,000 children.
  • 19,000 more people in Western Australia pushed into poverty, including 5,000 children.
  • 12,000 more people in South Australia pushed into poverty, including 2,000 children.
  • 5,000 more people in Tasmania pushed into poverty, including 1,000 children.

“The JobSeeker supplement has been the only thing standing between many recently jobless Australians and poverty,” said Matt Grudnoff, senior economist at The Australia Institute.

“A second $100 reduction to the JobSeeker supplement will result in hundreds of thousands of Australian families being pushed below the poverty line—it means a struggle to put food on the table, to pay rent or service mortgages, and will it will cause acute pressure on people in an already turbulent time. 

“No other government has ever lifted so many people out of poverty so quickly, than the Morrison Government did with the Coronavirus Supplement. The supplement has been an essential part of Australia’s response to this recession and improved the lives of nearly half a million Australians, so it is a disappointing 180° to see the very same government now intent on pushing hundreds of thousands of people back below the poverty line.

“Punishing the unemployed during a recession, when there are more than ten unemployed people competing for every one job vacancy, is simply cruel. Now is the time to support the unemployed, not punish them for losing their job.”

*A previous version of this media release erroneously stated that an additional 5,000 children would be pushed into poverty in South Australia. This has been updated to reflect the correct figure of 2,000 children, as stated in the report.

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