The campaign to Raise the Rate for Good is key to reducing poverty and inequality in Australia. The goal of the campaign is to fix the social security safety net for good so that it keeps people out of poverty, with an income of $500 per week. The Parenthood is proud to be part of this campaign and you too can show your support and join Raise the Rate for Good.
Few would disagree that 2020 has been a challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic presents the greatest test the world has faced since the Second World War. The pandemic has had a particularly substantial impact on many families. A difficult perfect storm of financial hardship, lack of work, fear and long periods with children not at school.
Australia’s official unemployment figure for September has risen to 6.9 per cent. That is almost one million Australians out of work. But millions more are underemployed. And the harmful effects of this pandemic are not distributed equally. They are most damaging for families in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations.
One bright spot, however, has been the increased JobSeeker rate. This payment was formerly known as Newstart and hadn’t been increased in real terms in 26 years.
COVID changed that and a survey by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) of 955 people receiving the increased payment in April found:
- 92.8% said they were able to afford fresh fruit and vegetables.
- 75.1% said they were able to pay their bills.
- 69.2% said they were now able to pay for essential medical and health treatments.
- 93.5% said the removal of the supplement would have a significant or extreme impact on their ability to cover the cost of essentials.
Research released this month by RMIT University and the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) shows that Melbourne was able to eradicate much of its pre-pandemic poverty because of the increased welfare payments.
Ending poverty is not a pipedream
"It proves ending poverty isn't a pipedream. It's achievable," VCOSS chief executive Emma King said. "In non-COVID times, these settings would have also allowed people to look for work without worrying about their next meal.”
Virtually every dollar of the increased payments went back into the local economy, supporting communities and Australia’s COVID recovery. There are 1.1 million children living in homes who received the higher rate of income support through the Coronavirus Supplement. Earlier this year, virtually overnight, the Federal government delivered an increase in payments that delivered the dignity that all Australians deserve to cover the basics. They did it and it transformed the quality of life for millions of Australians. And they can do it again.
As we grapple with the ongoing health and economic crises, we must ensure everyone is supported to cover the basics. More people than ever will be struggling to find enough paid work. We cannot turn back to the brutality of people struggling to survive on $40 a day. It is critical we have a permanent and adequate increase to the rate of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income support payments.
This Christmas, The Parenthood is calling on the Federal government to Raise The Rate For Good to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income support payments, so that we lift Australian families out of poverty. We can’t imagine a more welcome Christmas miracle - and it’s within reach.
Support the campaign
Join the campaign and send a virtual holiday card with a personal message to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg or Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston, telling them why we need a permanent and adequate increase to income support. 2020 has been a hard year, but it’s not over yet. We’ve never been closer to turning the tide. Now is the time to flood our political leaders’ offices with holiday cards telling them that this matters, and win some good news to see in a new year. Sign our virtual card here!
In crises such as this one, it is critical that we act with compassion. Now is the time to show solidarity.