Advocates Fear The JobSeeker Rate Won’t Be Raised Under The Albanese Government
"We call on Albanese to honour his mother’s legacy by supporting people on welfare."
Under the new Labor government, all eyes are now on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to see whether the welfare rate will be further raised.
Advocates are concerned that after nine years under the Coalition, not enough will change to help ease the living situation for Australia’s vulnerable and unemployed.
“In the wake of the election, [we have] seen an outpouring of despair from people living in poverty, with countless welfare recipients beseeching the incoming government to reject austerity and ensure we have enough money to afford the basics,” said the Antipoverty Centre in a statement on Monday.
In April, the ALP backtracked on committing to review JobSeeker, as they did during the 2019 election with Bill Shorten as Opposition Leader.
“Certainly, living on JobSeeker is a challenge. And that’s one of the reasons we need to make sure we’re thinking about rent assistance and the adequacy of social housing,” said MP Andrew Leigh at the time.
The party has dug in its heels ever since peddling a policy that insists that living on just under $46 a day is enough for a single person without kids — with no current or announced plans to raise the rate in the foreseeable future now that they’re in power.
In his victory speech on Saturday, Albanese said that “no one [will be] left behind because we should always look after the disadvantaged and the vulnerable” — but the Antipoverty Centre are now asking him to put his money where his mouth is.
The group are demanding the incoming government prioritise lifting and expanding eligibility for Centrelink payments, to better support the millions of Australians who rely on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Disability Support Pension, Carers Payment, and Parenting Payment.
“Albanese must stop wheeling out the memory of his mother for political gain until he acts to ensure single parents who aren’t in paid work receive adequate financial support,” they said. “We call on Albanese to honour his mother’s legacy by supporting people on welfare.”
The cost of living was one of the top issues discussed during the Federal Election, with a focus on how inflation would affect rent, petrol, and fresh produce. However, amid these discussions, only the Greens and some minor parties stood for increasing welfare payments.
Last Monday, a poll by the Australian Council of Social Service found that 76 percent of surveyed adults said they wouldn’t be able to live on the current JobSeeker rate, and 55 percent thought the rate was too low. A bot account on Twitter titled ‘Has Albo raised welfare yet?‘ was also started on the day the Prime Minister was sworn in to report developments on a daily basis.