National JobSeeker Week Of Action Targets Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth ‘No One Left Behind’ Must Include People In Poverty

National Week of Action (April 15-21): Grassroots anti-poverty groups and people on JobSeeker and other payments will be contacting and visiting their MPs to call for payments to be raised out of poverty in the May federal budget

Grassroots anti-poverty groups across the country, including Anti-Poverty Network SA, Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union, Antipoverty Centre, and Anti-Poverty Network Qld, will be mobilising the community to pressure Labor MPs on the disgracefully-low rate of JobSeeker, as part of a national Week of Action from April 15-21.

The week of lobbying, which will include job-seekers and supporters contacting and visiting their MPs, will finish with an action outside the office of Social Services Minister, Amanda Rishworth, calling on her to ensure people in poverty are not left behind in next month’s federal budget.

Quote from Anti-Poverty Network SA: “Almost two years ago, the Albanese government was elected on a promise to ‘Leave No One Behind’, but people on JobSeeker have been largely forgotten.

Last year’s federal budget saw an insulting and miserable $2.86-a-day rise to JobSeeker. And last month’s pathetic indexation – a 97-cents-a-day increase – will do little for people struggling with skyrocketing rents, and other soaring living costs. JobSeeker, at $54-a-day – $375-a-week – will still be $32-a-day – $224-a-week – below the Henderson poverty-line of $86-a-day.

The Albanese government is dreaming, if it thinks its work is done: this year’s Federal Budget needs to finish the job, by lifting JobSeeker, and other payments, out of poverty.”

Quote from Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union: “Since the last Budget’s chaotic display, we have seen almost nothing of the Minister. Amanda Rishworth has remained hidden, shying away from the poverty crisis and offering no plan to meaningfully help those in poverty.

This is an issue that needs a real solution, a significant raise to income support payments has long been accepted as necessary, if not inevitable. So where is the Minister’s plan? Why, so far into this government’s term, do we have no idea what Amanda Rishworth intends to do? In absence of any word from the Minister we have to assume the answer is nothing.”

Quote from Antipoverty Centre: “The welfare system is killing people. Deepening poverty, punitive “mutual” obligations, Centrelink processing times and baseless so-called debts are destroying lives at the same time we are squeezed by landlords and cost of living hikes. 

A budget that leaves people in poverty is not a responsible budget. The fastest and most effective thing the government can do to support the people who need it most is immediately increase Centrelink payments above the poverty line and stop “mutual” obligations. They have money to pay for tax cuts for the rich and weapons of war, there is no excuse for neglecting the poor.”

Quote from the Anti-Poverty Network of Queensland: “This isn’t even a debate anymore! We have known for years that Jobseeker as well as all other Centrelink payments are far below the poverty line.

Back in 2020 we saw how when they raised Jobseeker during the height of the pandemic many people’s lives improved. They didn’t have to choose between rent or medicine.

The fact that they then decreased it and has not been raised by any substantial figure shows that they are intentionally keeping people in poverty.

Join the Mini-rally outside office of Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth on Friday April 19, 1pm, at 232 Main South Road, Morphett Vale, SA

 

Five weeks til the Budget, are you trying to dash our hopes already Jim?

You are the federal treasurer. You can pull the lever at any time to reduce homelessness and poverty. However, it means you won't be able to do a press conference boasting about a budget surplusWhat do you do?
Jim Chalmers’ Trolley Problem

It’s five weeks until Jim Chalmer’s hands down the budget that Labor will likely try to ride into the next election. “Cost of living” is the buzz phrase still, and he and his colleagues are drip feeding us what to expect, and also what NOT to expect.

This week Jimmy made sure to play down any hopes for anything significant for those on welfare. We’ll likely see a repeat of the $125 ish a quarter energy bill relief (or we won’t see it it goes straight to the companies) because your bill without it would be a pre-election nightmare for Labor. Plus it’s also been a tool for them to fudge the inflation figures – if the discount is applied BEFORE it gets to our inbox, it doesn’t count as inflation, right? Even though the gov still pays for it, the company still pockets it, and everyone gets to grin and shake hands.

Of course, the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee is yet to report back, as they are to do at least a whole two weeks before each budget. But last year’s key recommendation of raising Job Seeker to 90% of the pension rate was ignored, so I’m not holding my breath for their recommendations – but I’m curious will they go as hard as last year? Or, will they not and say why bother?

Also, where are those backbenches who signed the call for a significant increase to Job Seeker? Were they bought off for $20 a week too?

Welfare Dependency is a Good Thing, Actually

Two alieds in regal gear with text Why does the working class, the larger of the two classes, not simply eat the rich?

Yeah, The Poors are cranky again, this time because a “think tank” has decided there’s too many of us on welfare and that it’s a bad thing. They also decided that the NDIS is welfare and double counted people on that and on support payments like the disability support pension and Job Seeker, so aside from their numbers being dodgy, they seem to think that people on the NDIS are the ones suckling that cash cow, whether really it’s the  businesses and “not for profits” making money off disabled people’s need to get out of bed or shower who are raking it in.

Mel argued today that welfare dependency isn’t actually a thing, and she has a point, but I’d like to also argue that being dependent on welfare is a good thing, actually, and the safety net should be more reliable and available to more people.

People shouldn’t be waiting over three months from applying for the aged pension or youth allowance to see any money. They shouldn’t be having their payment suspended due to an error from a JSP, they shouldn’t have to spend hours on hold if they can even get on hold to Centrelink to get their entitlements reinstated.

Welfare SHOULD be dependable as a safety net. For those who can’t work, for those who are sick or disabled or aged or caring for themselves or others. We should be able to access it in a timely fashion when circumstances arise like unemployment or a new baby. Welfare dependence is a good thing, actually, and I wish Australia’s welfare system was more dependable.

 

Welfare is going up a dollar a day from March 20

Well, 96 cents if you’re on Jobseeker. Personally my pension indexation is $1.05 a day. That certainly won’t make any impact whatsoever when it starts getting indexed from Thursday (March 20).

Allowances Family Situation Previous Amount 20 Mar 2024 Increase Single, 22 or over, no children $749.20 $762.70 $13.50 pf Single, 22 or over, with children $802.50 $816.90 $14.40 pf Single, 55 or over, after 9 months $802.50 $816.90 $14.40 pf Partnered (each) $686.00 $698.30 $12.30 pf Single, principal carer of child, exempt from activity test* $970.20 $987.70 $17.50 pf

And don’t worry, Rent Assistance will only be going up about $1.50/week so it won’t help at all with this year’s rent increases.

We saw news articles last week where people are suddenly realising that people who are retiring to the aged pension and don’t own a house are fucked. No real acknowledgement though that that’s already the reality for people on DSP and Jobseeker, and that we’re not really adding to our Superannuation in any significant way to help with those costs if we live til 67.

Personally, my Super has been hovering around $150k since I stopped being a speech pathologist, fluctuation with markets. See how much it devalues over then next 25 years hey, and see what opportunities I have to add to it.

In personal news, I’ve moved sides of the living room. Bruce’s son is moving in this week, so we’re rejigging a bunch of things ahead of that. It means I’m under my hue lights now and have a nice solid wall behind me rather than open room/tv. Now to phona-fy the rest of the corner.