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Jobseeker increase welcomed but untenable to drop people back to old rate in 6 months

"The Government has finally listened to the community and all those living in poverty who have been crying out for an increase to Newstart for years and years now.

"It shouldn’t have taken a crisis like this to show compassion and increase the Jobseeker payment.

"An increase to the jobseeker payment must be long term and permanent. It is absolutely untenable to drop people back onto $40 a day once this crisis period has passed.

"The Government now needs to address mutual obligations. It is not in the interest of public health and safety to have the current group on income support plus the new influx of people applying for income support having to meet mutual obligations.

"Many people do not have the infrastructure to just “go online”. Not everyone has a smart phone, computer or home internet and with libraries and community centres closing down they will have to continue to attend face to face appointments.

"The mutual obligation arrangements are a joke – especially as states may now progressively go into lock down. The Government still thinks that jobseekers can undertake training or volunteering within their community which is so unsafe.

"There will also be less jobs to apply for in these economic conditions so it does not make sense for jobseekers to be applying for even four jobs a fortnight to keep their payment.

"Mutual obligations should be suspended immediately.

"An increase of up to 5,000 staff for Services Australia is a welcome move but they need to address the systemic issues with Centrelink and the punitive approach to those on income support.

"I am very glad that the Government have now included the not for profit and community sector in the stimulus. The not-for-profit and community sector provide essential services to our community and employ over 3 million people."

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