MEDIA RELEASE: Morrison Government chooses to abandon Tasmanians with JobSeeker snub

23 February 2021

Today’s announcement that the rate of the JobSeeker Payment will be locked at a meagre $44 per day is yet another example of the Morrison Government’s lack of compassion for Tasmanians doing it tough.

TasCOSS CEO Ms Adrienne Picone said the cruel and short-sighted decision was indicative of a heartless government that is out of touch with the needs of Tasmanians looking for work.

“An increase of $3.57 a day is well below the meaningful boost to the payment the COSS network, the Tasmanian community services industry, the Reserve Bank of Australia, business groups and leading economists have been calling for,” said Ms Picone.

“Tasmanians living on JobSeeker have told us they have relied on the higher rate of income support to buy fresh food, pay their rent, visit their GP and support them to be job-ready.

“This pittance of an increase will do little to boost their confidence in a Tasmanian jobs market where more than 40,000 Tasmanians are looking for work or more hours and there are 17 job seekers for every advertised job.

Further compounding the ramifications of this decision, Ms Picone said the nation was yet to see the flow on impacts of the withdrawal of JobKeeper and rental eviction moratoriums ending. 

“This cut in job seekers’ incomes to well below the poverty line is a further blow that will have welfare groups in Tasmania bracing for a surge in demand for services, such as food relief, emergency accommodation and counselling.

“We know the physical and mental impacts of living in poverty and the toll it takes on lives and livelihoods, on communities, and on families and friends. Between April and September last year, the $550 Coronavirus Supplement ensured Tasmanian job seekers — many for the first time — had the capacity to afford the basics and live with dignity.

“Many Tasmanians told us they used the additional funds to reskill and retrain in order to seek out employment opportunities in the post-COVID-19 economy. Now, these aspirations for a better life will have to be put on hold.”

Ms Picone said the Morrison Government has once again failed to adequately support Tasmanians in need. 

“Premier Peter Gutwein has been left to pick up the shortfall as a result of the Prime Minister passing the buck with people’s livelihoods.

“Under the new rate of JobSeeker, a further $3.5 million per fortnight will be stripped out of the Tasmanian economy. This is in addition to the $14 million every fortnight our economy has lost with the reduction in the Coronavirus Supplement.”

Ends

For more information or to arrange an interview with TasCOSS CEO Adrienne Picone:

  • Cameron Allen, 0419 769 253 or via email.