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AnglicareSA was pleased to see the first increase in almost a quarter of a century to the JobSeeker payment. But $25 a week more is simply not enough to lift families over the poverty line.

AnglicareSA Executive General Manager Community Services, Nancy Penna said today’s announcement was not only disappointing for those doing it tough, but goes against independent advice that a larger increase will have significant positive economic and social impacts across the community.

“As Deloitte Access Economics’ September 2020 report stated, cutting the Coronavirus Supplement at the end of 2020 would see the economy lose $31.3 billion and 145,000 full-time jobs over the next two years,” she said.

“At less than $4 a day, the increase falls well short of what is urgently needed. It will see neither jobseekers nor the economy better off.

“A larger increase would help lift families and individuals out of poverty. And from an economic viewpoint, providing this extra money to those who need it means it can be spent quickly to boost our post-pandemic economy.

“People should have enough to keep a roof over their heads, put food on the table, and pay their bills.”

Anglicare’s 2020 Jobs Availability Snapshot released in October found a staggering more than 2.6 million people across Australia are either unemployed or underemployed – with underemployment up 47 per cent compared to 2019.

In South Australia it found more than 10 people are competing for each entry-level job.

Ms Penna said while the higher income-free threshold of $150 will allow more flexibility for people to work part-time or casually, the research shows there is a clear need to support and create opportunities for jobseekers at all levels.

“People shouldn’t be trapped in poverty while they get their lives back on track, especially when the research shows that the jobs aren’t there,” she said.

“If we’re serious about helping people, we need to provide those out of work with a liveable income as well as create jobs.

“If we don’t fix this broken system, fellow Australians will continue to live below the poverty line.”