Politicians from across the aisle, academics, business leaders, community advocates and other prominent Australians have joined in a rare display of unity to urge the Prime Minister to implement the first priority recommendation of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee and deliver a substantial increase to JobSeeker and related payments in the May Budget.
Labor MPs Alicia Payne, Louise Miller-Frost, Michelle Ananda-Raja and Kate Thwaites, Liberal MP Bridget Archer, the Greens, and a wide range of independents and cross-bench politicians, including Kate Chaney, Zoe Daniel, Helen Haines, Zali Steggall, Jacqui Lambie, David Pocock, Monique Ryan, Kylea Tink, Sophie Scamps, Lidia Thorpe and Andrew Wilkie, have all signed an Open Letter urging Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to lift Jobseeker and related payments to help address “structural injustice” and “increased deprivation”.
Sitting members of the Federal Parliament are joined by former senior politicians and bureaucrats, First Nations leaders, leading economists, community sector leaders and prominent Australians.
The Open Letter to the Prime Minister comes after the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, which was established as part of a historic agreement between the Government and Senator Pocock, recommended the government deliver a substantial increase to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and related payments as a “first priority”. The Committee found that the payments are inadequate against all existing benchmarks and that increasing their rate to 90% of the Age Pension would improve the adequacy and return them to payment relativities of 1999.
The Open Letter, coordinated by the Australian Council of Social Service, says: “We all want the security of knowing that we’ll be supported during tough times.
“But right now, the rate of JobSeeker is so low that people are being forced to choose between paying their rent or buying enough food and medicine.”
Currently, for a single person, JobSeeker is $49.50 per day and Youth Allowance is $40.20 per day.
ACOSS research last year found that six in ten people on income support were eating less or reporting difficulty getting medicine or care because their incomes are totally inadequate. This figure increased to seven in ten in March 2023.
The letter concludes by saying: “We call on the Federal Government to substantially increase JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and related income support payments in the 2023 budget so as to not leave people in need behind.”
So far, more than 380 people have signed the letter.
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