Cuts to Coronavirus Supplement “a cause for dismay”

11 November 2020

Government’s JobSeeker announcement leaves millions below the poverty line

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence is urging the Federal Government not to pursue further cuts to the Coronavirus Supplement, which has been a lifeline for so many Australians.

Up to two million adults and one million children were pushed into poverty when the Coronavirus supplement was cut in September. The government’s slated Christmas-time cuts will be another blow.

“The government claims to support families and women, but then is considering cutting critical support at a time when there is only one job vacancy for every 12 people,” says Conny Lenneberg, Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence.

“We have seen first-hand the damage that cutting the Coronavirus supplement in September has already caused. We’ve heard from people who have not been able to put the heater on for fear of their next energy bill. We’ve heard from families that are falling into debt again. We’ve heard from single mothers who are being forced to skip meals themselves so they can afford healthy food for their kids. A further cut will cause a world of pain.”

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence is concerned the government has put off making a decision about the rate of JobSeeker until the end of March, while families will go into 2021 without enough to get by.

“A brief extension of a dramatically reduced Coronavirus Supplement is not a cause of celebration, but rather a cause for dismay,” says Ms Lenneberg.

“The Reserve Bank of Australia forecasts that the unemployment rate will remain high, peaking at around 8 per cent. Women have been hit hard by the crisis – especially single mothers on JobSeeker payment. This cut will undermine their efforts to make ends meet and provide for their children.”

“If the government really wanted to support people to get back on their feet, it would immediately introduce a permanent and adequate increase to JobSeeker. Now is not the time to put off making decisions. Along with so many others around the country, we are calling on the government to support Australians, to pull our children out of poverty and to Raise the Rate for Good .”

Media enquiries