ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

ACTCOSS calls for political leaders to commit to raising the rate of income support

13 April 2022

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today backed a call by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) for all political leaders and federal election candidates to make a commitment to raising the rate of JobSeeker to $70 a day.

ACOSS urged politicians to consider whether they could live on just $46 day, and to ensure that they make increased payments an urgent policy priority. There are more than 1.5 million Australians, and over 38,000 Canberrans living in poverty, struggling to survive on current JobSeeker payments.

In a media release, ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “The 1.5 million people struggling to survive on JobSeeker and other income support need hope that their lives matter, and clarity from the major parties and candidates that their incomes will be lifted. JobSeeker is just $46 a day, and completely inadequate to cover basic costs. And yet, neither the ALP nor the Coalition have committed to increasing these payments.”

ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “At the current rate, JobSeeker fails to cover even the basic costs of living for Canberrans. Alongside the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, rates of poverty have increased and inequality persists in our community.

“It is unacceptable that those on JobSeeker payments are living in poverty and deprioritised in decisions around government spending. Given the incredibly high cost of rent, electricity, food and health services, which have risen at a disproportionately high rate in the ACT over the past few years, Canberrans on JobSeeker are not able to cover the basic costs of living.

“Whilst voters have consistently demonstrated support for raising the rate to $70 and lifting those on JobSeeker out of poverty, the major parties have failed to prioritise supporting community members who are on the brink of homelessness and have instead committed to $16 billion a year on tax cuts focusing on higher income earners,” said Dr Campbell.

Dr Campbell concluded: “We support ACOSS in its urging of the ALP and the Liberal-National Coalition to commit to lifting JobSeeker and other income support to at least $70 a day and establishing supplementary payments for people with disability and single parents so everyone can cover the basics.”