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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Benefit cuts not a good start to new year: Conroy

Shortland MP Pat Conroy has warned the upcoming cut to the Coronavirus Supplement will impact his electorate’s most vulnerable residents.

The Australian Government is scheduled to slash the $250 per fortnight payment to just $150 from tomorrow, Friday 1 January.

And, Mr Conroy believes this will rip out more than $1.2 million from the Shortland economy every two weeks.

“It’s not a nice way to wish helpless Australians a Happy New Year,” he said.

“The payment is paid to 12,273 Shortland locals who are currently receiving JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Parenting, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Partner Allowance and Special Benefit.

“The government’s also planning to scrap the Coronavirus Supplement entirely from 1 April 2021, meaning that people receiving JobSeeker will go back to living off $40 a day.

“There are currently about 1.8 million Australians on JobSeeker alone.

“The government’s own figures show an additional 90,000 are expected to be out of work by March.

“In addition, there are about 13 job hunters for every vacancy in Australia.”

Mr Conroy said local food banks had reported up to a tripling in demand for their services as a result of the government’s cut to JobSeeker in September.

“It is far too soon for Scott Morrison to be withdrawing this support for families, jobs and businesses,” he added.

“We know people who rely on social security payments are more likely to spend and support their local economy.

“By prematurely cutting this assistance, the Prime Minister is ensuring this recession is longer and deeper than it needs to be.

“Scott Morrison should be extending the Coronavirus Supplement until the economy has bounced back and business confidence has improved.

“In addition, he must commit to increasing the JobSeeker base rate so that it does not revert back to $40 a day from 1 April.”