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Parliament must act on permanent JobSeeker increase to stop $300 per fortnight cut for millions next month

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With Treasury figures showing effective unemployment set to rise to 13% by the end of the year, the Australian Council of Social Service is calling on the Government to put in place a permanent, adequate JobSeeker rate for good, as Parliament resumes.

“With politicians back in Canberra, we are urging them to do the right thing by people and the economy so that we can get through this crisis and rebuild together,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.

Instead of cutting $300 per fortnight from millions of people’s already sparse incomes next month, Goldie said the Parliament needs to put in place a permanent, adequate JobSeeker rate, which before the temporary COVID increase, not been increased in over 25 years.

There are 2.3 million people facing the $300 per fortnight cut on September 25 unless Parliament acts in these two weeks. Troublingly, more than 1.1 million children are living in households that stand to have their incomes cut on 25 September.

“At the same time, there is only one job for every 12 people on JobSeeker or Youth Allowance, borders continue to be closed, and Victoria continues to endure a long, necessary lock down that is really tough on people and taking a toll on jobs,” Goldie said. “As well as being a health crisis, this is an unemployment crisis.”

People are in an impossible situation and as many are only just able to cover basics now with the current JobSeeker rate and are worried about how they will pay for housing, food, and the costs of their children.

As Parliament resumes, Goldie said many people are distressed by the prospect of the planned dramatic cut in their incomes.

“In this Parliamentary sitting, the Government must urgently deliver a permanent, adequate increase to JobSeeker and other income supports so that people can have security to cover the basics whilst they rebuild their lives.” Dr Goldie said.

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