Payment cuts will see ‘more Australians fall into poverty’

The coronavirus supplement for welfare recipients will be reduced to $150 a fortnight from January 1 (ABC News/Nic MacBean)

A further 330,000 people will fall below the poverty line when the Commonwealth reduces welfare support payments in less than two months, new analysis shows. Source: SBS News.

A researcher at the Australian National University has conducted modelling showing the “dramatic” impact the $100 reduction of the coronavirus supplement will have when it is cut on January 1.

The Morrison Government this month announced it would extend the fortnightly payment beyond December at the reduced rate of $150 per fortnight, which the modelling shows will see the number of Australians living in poverty rise from 3.49 million to 3.82 million.

“As you can see, there is a very dramatic impact on poverty numbers from the amount of money that people have provided [to them],” researcher Ben Phillips said, adding that Australia is seeing elevated levels of poverty that are “now well-above the levels that we had pre-COVID”.

The coronavirus supplement has been paid to around two million people through JobSeeker, student and parenting payments.

It had originally been paid at $550 per fortnight, before it was cut at the end of September to $250 a fortnight.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week said additional welfare support provided during the pandemic had helped “cushion the blow” of the coronavirus recession.

But he said the Government did not want to extend elevated levels of support for too long.

However, The Greens and Labor have seized on Mr Phillips’ modelling as evidence the Government is making a mistake by reducing the supplement.

FULL STORY

Some 330,000 more Australians will fall into poverty when coronavirus supplement is cut, modelling warns (By Tom Stayner, SBS News

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