Regional communities including Noosa and Gympie will be hit hardest by the Federal Government’s planned cuts to the Coronavirus Supplement for people on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and parenting payments, according to the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).
In the Wide Bay federal electorate, there are currently 17,277 people receiving JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment – an increase of 60 per cent since December 2019.
Cutting the Coronavirus Supplement by $150 a week from 25 September is removing an estimated $2,591,550 per week from the local economy.
Analysis by Deloitte Access Economics shows that cutting and removing the Coronavirus Supplement will result in the loss of 33,000 jobs in Queensland including 442 in Noosa and 538 in Gympie.
The report says regions which have traditionally relied on the tourism and service sectors for employment will be some of the hardest hit, due to rapid job losses as visitor numbers have fallen.
ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said delivering a permanent and adequate increase to the JobSeeker payment was one of the most effective ways to inject money back into regional communities.
The old Newstart rate was effectively doubled when the Federal Government brought in the temporary Coronavirus Supplement in March.
At the same time, the name of the payment was changed from Newstart to JobSeeker.
The Government cut the Coronavirus Supplement on September 25, reducing incomes of people on JobSeeker by $300 per fortnight.Deloitte Access Economics Partner Nicki Hutley said their analysis showed that the Government’s plan to reduce income support would set back the economy further.
“We also know that this would take a serious toll on the wellbeing of millions of people who are without paid work, especially those in regional communities,“ Ms Hutley said.
Dr Goldie said the doubling of Newstart at the start of the pandemic came as a huge relief, after 26 years without a real increase to the payment support program, people without paid work were finally able to afford basics.
“But they now face a deeply uncertain future, with these devastating cuts to their already tight budgets and 28 people receiving JobSeeker for every job vacancy in regional areas.
“We’re calling on the Government to move quickly to legislate a permanent, adequate JobSeeker rate that means people can cover the basics,” Dr Goldie said.