Australians will have their payments reduced tomorrow as the government winds back its coronavirus support. This is how much you’ll lose.
Australians will have their payments reduced tomorrow as the government winds back its coronavirus support. This is how much you’ll lose.

Millions of Aussies’ payments will be cut tomorrow

More than two million Australians on welfare will have their payments reduced on Friday as the coronavirus supplement is slashed by $300.

From Monday, JobKeeper recipients will also feel the pinch as the Federal Government tapers the fortnightly wage subsidy.

Under an extension of both support measures, the coronavirus supplement will reduce from $550 to $250 a fortnight for people receiving nine eligible welfare payments, including JobSeeker, until December 31.

JobKeeper will reduce to $1200 a fortnight for people working more than 20 hours, and $750 a fortnight for less than 20 hours until March 28, 2021.

But the decision to remove money from the economy as Victoria remains in lockdown and the nation is in a deep recession has been condemned by the Opposition.

Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers on Thursday said it was "absolutely mad" for the government to withdraw support when the economy, and particularly the jobs market, was this weak.

"When the Government stands up in the coming days and releases the final Budget outcome they should also release the modelling which says how many jobs will be lost by their premature withdrawal of support from an economy which still needs it," he said.

"Some businesses are recovering, many are not.

"The economy's too weak for the government to be cutting these important payments at this time."

Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers says money should not be taken out of the economy right now. Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images
Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers says money should not be taken out of the economy right now. Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images

 

The government has previously argued it is unsustainable to keep spending $11 billion a month on the coronavirus payment.
"At the end of the year we'll revisit the rate for the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement and we're leaning in to provide continued support," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told ABC Radio National Thursday.

"We recognise that people are doing it tough.

"This money is really important to them. But we also know the best thing we can do to help people who are on JobSeeker is to get them into a job."

In a speech at Parliament House later in the day, Mr Frydenberg said the government's fiscal strategy would move away from reducing debt and would instead make lowering the national unemployment rate its top priority.

"We will continue to invest in our workforce, particularly our young jobseekers, by improving our skills, training and education systems," he said.

"We also want to reform our industrial relations system to make it more flexible.

"This will ensure that new and growing businesses can access the skills they need to thrive, creating more opportunities for Australian workers."

But Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert said it was obscene the government was cutting $300 a fortnight from people on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance, while it prepared to give tax cuts to high-income earners.

She said the cuts would condemn 1.8 million people to "live on a payment below the poverty line".

"We call on Scott Morrison to reverse this decision to cut the coronavirus supplement," Senator Siewert said.

The Australian Council of Social Services CEO Cassandra Goldie had also lobbied the government to extend the supplement at the existing rate, until it had permanently raised JobSeeker to a rate that means "people can cover the basics".

 

 

Originally published as 2 million Aussies' payments cut tomorrow


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