Are we really all in this together?

Ursula Stephens (CSSA)

At the start of the pandemic, the federal Government reassured Australia “We’re all in this together”, but the end of JobKeeper and coronavirus supplement payments will leave millions in poverty, writes Ursula Stephens. Source: Eureka Street.

The end of the $90 billion JobKeeper payment is being met with trepidation by many hundreds of thousands of Australians. While industry groups, unions and social service advocates continue to urge the Government to provide extra support to struggling sectors to replace the wage subsidy scheme and offset major job losses, Treasury’s latest estimates are that up to 150,000 jobs may be lost. Other economists predict this to be closer to 200,000 jobs.

Many small businesses in food and beverage, transport, personal services, accommodation and recreation services that have depended on JobKeeper are predicted to increase in defaults and closures.

Many workers who were on the $1000 per fortnight JobKeeper and lose their jobs, will shift to JobSeeker, which has been reduced to $620.80 per fortnight.

Catholic social service agencies across the country are already seeing an increase in stress and domestic violence referrals. Requests for material support, food relief, financial counselling, and emergency assistance are on the rise as housing affordability, precarious housing and homelessness increase.

Of great concern to our services is the pressure on rental affordability, when the fortnightly $150 Coronavirus Supplement disappears and is replaced by the $50 JobSeeker increase. This change will mean that more than 2.6 million people receiving income support will be below the poverty line.

Ursula Stephens is Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Social Services Australia.

FULL STORY

Are we all in this together? (Eureka Street

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