This Anti-Poverty Week millions of Australians have been left behind by the Government – less than a week after delivering its budget.
I recently visited the Lanyon Food Hub that provides emergency relief to families who are experiencing financial distress. Thankfully due to the Coronavirus Supplement, there has been reduction in people seeking their help.
However, at the end of December 4,804 people receiving unemployment payments in Bean will lose $250 per fortnight with the scheduled end of the Coronavirus Supplement.
Furthermore, Lanyon Food Hub has experienced a significant increase in the number visa holders and asylum seekers who have been left behind by this government.
Over the past 12 months, more than one in five Australians have experienced food insecurity, and charities and emergency relief providers are being overwhelmed by a surge in demand for their services – one in three are accessing emergency relief for the first time.
Australia is in the middle of the most severe economic crisis in almost a century.
160,000 Australians will lose their jobs between now and the end of the year – and there are simply not enough jobs for everyone who needs one.
928,000 Australians over 35 on JobSeeker have been excluded in the budget from the hiring subsidies.
The Government has refused to provide certainty to millions of anxious Australians on JobSeeker who face a return to the old base rate of Newstart on December 31.
And the Budget failed the charity sector, which employs one in ten Australians, and is having to stand down staff while demand for charitable assistance soars.
All Australians – whether they live below or above the poverty line – will in some form or another feel the struggle of poverty.
When a child doesn’t have a roof over their head, or goes hungry, they cannot do their homework, complete their education and reach their potential.
They cannot participate economically or socially in our community.
Poverty means we are all diminished as a nation.
The Government missed a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address these issues.
It could begin by providing certainty for Australians on JobSeeker beyond Christmas by delivering a permanent increase.