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Politicians, advocates and prominent Australians call for JobSeeker increase in Federal Budget

ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Service) Media Release

Politicians from across the aisle, academics, business leaders, community advocates and other prominent Australians have joined in a rare display of unity to urge the Prime Minister to implement the first priority recommendation of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee and deliver a substantial increase to JobSeeker and related payments in the May Budget.

Labor MPs Alicia Payne, Louise Miller-Frost, Michelle Ananda-Raja and Kate Thwaites, Liberal MP Bridget Archer, the Greens, and a wide range of independents and cross-bench politicians including Kate Chaney, Zoe Daniel, Helen Haines, Zali Steggall, Jacqui Lambie, David Pocock, Monique Ryan, Kylea Tink, Sophie Scamps, Lidia Thorpe and Andrew Wilkie, have all signed an Open Letter urging Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to lift Jobseeker and related payments to help address “structural injustice” and “increased deprivation”.

Sitting members of the Federal Parliament are joined by former senior politicians and bureaucrats, First Nations leaders, leading economists, community sector leaders and prominent Australians detailed below.

The Open Letter to the Prime Minister comes after the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, which was established as part of an historic agreement between the Government and Senator Pocock, recommended the government deliver a substantial increase to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and related payments as a “first priority”. The Committee found that the payments are inadequate against all existing benchmarks and that increasing their rate to 90% of the Age Pension would improve adequacy and return them to payment relativities of 1999.

The Open Letter, coordinated by the Australian Council of Social Service, says: “We all want the security of knowing that we’ll be supported during tough times.

“But right now, the rate of JobSeeker is so low that people are being forced to choose between paying their rent or buying enough food and medicine.”

Currently, for a single person, JobSeeker is $49.50 per day and Youth Allowance is $40.20 per day.

ACOSS research last year found that six in ten people on income support were eating less or reporting difficulty getting medicine or care because their incomes are totally inadequate. This figure increased to seven in ten in March 2023.

Former politicians and bureaucrats to have signed include Brian Howe AO, Kathryn Greiner AO, Cathy McGowan AO, Robert Tickner AO, Doug Cameron, Jenny Macklin, John Hewson AM, Fred Chaney AO, Verity Firth AM, Renée Leon PSM, Andrew Podger AO and Marie Coleman AO.

Economists, philanthropists and business and union leaders include Ken Henry AC, Jeff Borland, Danielle Wood, Chris Richardson, David Thodey AO, Emma Dawson, Nicki Hutley, Angela Jackson, Sally McManus, Michele O’Neil, Simon Holmes à Court, Richard Denniss, Melinda Cilento, Paul Zahra, Jill Reichstein AM and Diane Smith-Gander AO.

First Nations leaders including Professor Megan Davis, Pat Turner, Antoinette Braybrook, Dr Hannah McGlade, Mick Gooda, June Oscar AO and Thomas Mayor have signed, along with prominent Australians including Patrick McGorry AO, Fiona Stanley AO, Tim Costello AO, Tony Nicholson, Dr Nicole Higgins, Craig Foster, Jane Caro AM and Julie McCrossin AM.

Academics including Professor Kay Cook, Professor Nareen Young, Professor Miranda Stewart, Professor Peter Whiteford, Professor Eileen Baldry AO, Assoc Professor Ben Phillips, Eva Cox AO, and Professor Julian Disney AO have also signed.

Community sector leaders across the country have signed, including:

  • Hang Vo, ACOSS President
  • CEOs of State and Territory Councils of Social Services
  • Mohammad Al-Kafaji, FECCA CEO
  • Sandra Elhelw-Wright, Settlement Council of Australia CEO
  • Ram Neupane, Settlement Services International, Acting CEO
  • Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre CEO
  • Brad Chilcott, Welcoming Australia Founder
  • Rebecca Glenn, Centre for Womens Economic Safety CEO
  • Tanya Corrie, Juno CEO
  • Yumi Lee, Older Women’s Network NSW CEO
  • Hayley Foster, Full Stop Australia CEO
  • Terese Edwards, Single Mother Families Australia CEO
  • Bishop Philip Huggins, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture Director of Centre for Ecumenical Studies and President of the National Council of Churches in Australia
  • Mohamed Mohideen, OAM JP MASM, Islamic Council of Victoria Vice-President and Victorian Multicultural Commissioner
  • Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta and Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service Chair
  • Alan Kirkland, CHOICE CEO
  • Nicole Higgins, Royal Australian College of General Practice President
  • Nicole Bartholomeusz, cohealth Chief Executive
  • Elizabeth Deveny, Consumers Health Forum of Australia CEO
  • Kylie Ward, Australian College of Nursing CEO
  • Dr Zena Burgess, Australian Psychological Society CEO
  • Tish Sivagnanan, Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) National President
  • Terry Slevin, Public Health Association of Australia CEO
  • Robert Hunt, Dietitians Australia CEO
  • Michelle Greenwood, Invisible Illnessses Inc Founder
  • Liz Jacka, Dying With Dignity NSW Director
  • Gill Callister, Mind Australia CEO
  • Luke Rycken, Australian Youth Affairs Coalition CEO
  • Jason Trethowan, headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation CEO
  • Jackie Brady, Family & Relationship Services Australia Executive Director
  • Nick Tebbey, Relationships Australia National Executive Officer
  • Georgie Dent, The Parenthood Executive Director
  • Skye Kakoschke-Moore, Children and Young People with Disability Australia CEO
  • Sebastian Zagarella, People with Disability Australia CEO
  • Carolyn Frohmader, Women With Disabilities Australia CEO
  • Leanne Ho, Economic Justice Australia CEO
  • Tim Leach, Community Legal Centres Australia CEO
  • Anna Brown, Equality Australia CEO
  • Fiona Guthrie, Financial Counselling Australia CEO
  • Karen Cox, Financial Rights Legal Centre CEO
  • Chris Povey, Justice Connect CEO
  • Jonathon Hunyor, Public Interest Advocacy Centre CEO
  • Stella Avramopoulos, Good Shepherd CEO
  • Kasy Chambers, Anglicare Australia CEO
  • Claerwen Little, UnitingCare Australia National Director
  • Travers McLeod, Brotherhood of St Laurence Executive Director
  • Lin Hatfield Dodds, The Benevolent Society CEO
  • Toby O’Connor, St Vincent de Paul National Council of Australia CEO
  • Nicole Hornsby, Baptist Care Australia Executive Director
  • Lucy Manne, CEO
  • Glen Klatovsky, Climate Action Network Australia CEO
  • Kelly O’Shanassy Australian Conservation Foundation CEO
  • Lyn Morgain, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive
  • Matt Gardiner, 54 Reasons CEO
  • Toni Wren, Anti-Poverty Week Executive Director
  • Bill Mithen, Give Where You Live Foundation CEO
  • Julie Edwards, Jesuit Social Services CEO
  • Claire Robbs, Life Without Barriers CEO
  • Justine Colyer, Rise Network CEO
  • Mark Pearce, Volunteering Australia CEO
  • Kate Colvin, Homelessness Australia CEO
  • Emma Greenhalgh, National Shelter CEO
  • Joel Dignam, Better Renting Executive Director
  • Lorraine Dupree, Queensland Youth Housing Coalition Executive Director
  • Fiona York, Housing for the Aged Action Group Executive Officer

The full list of community sector leaders is in the Open Letter to the Prime Minister.

The letter concludes by saying: “We call on the Federal Government to substantially increase JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and related income support payments in the 2023 budget so as to not leave people in need behind.”

So far, more than 380 people have signed the letter.


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  1. ajogrady

    Unforgivably the Albanese Labor government can find $400 billion for obsolete nuclear powered submarines, $3.5 billion for useless 65 ton US tanks and gifting $700million to the corrupt Ukraine regime while charities are begging Australians to help those living in poverty. The Albanese governments needs to be prioritising poverty. If it is not a priority then the Albanese government is entrancing generational poverty in Australia.
    Each year that passes sees the military budget grow. The current budget is for $49 billion to ensure that the three million Australians living in poverty will be living in poverty with the threat of an impending war hangs over their heads. Embarrassingly for the Albanese Labor government
    Smith Family ads that we see nightly on our televisions and daily in our newspapers are a brutal reminder that poverty is destroying lives in Australia while the money needed to rectify this disparity is funneled into the pockets of murderous arms manufscturers. The ads tell of a broken society and of economic structures that do not serve the needs of the people. Poverty affects 3.2 million people in this country. One in every six children is living in poverty in Australia
    Sickening and repulsive best describes the Albanese Labor governments priorities to addressing child poverty and poverty in general compared to the bottomless money pit of Defence’s procurement of weapons of death and destruction. The Albanese Labor governments has turned its back on Jobseeker increase shows it has turned its back on true Labor values. Protecting Australians begins in our backyard not off the coast of China. China’s trade maitains Australian’s their high living standards. $400billion obsolete AUKUS muclear subs plus a trillion dollar debt offers Australians a budgetary cliff.

    Child poverty, $3.5 billion for tanks, and a government that does not care

  2. Michael Taylor

    Good to see that my local member has signed the open letter.

  3. GL

    ‘merica needs the cash desperately and the ‘strayan gubmint (LNP or Labor), being the good little lickspittles they are, will gladly throw untold billions at them to help them out in their hour of need.

  4. Caz

    Bill Shorten would not have been sitting on his hands while people go hungry and homeless The Greens policies are looking more like traditional Labor values as each day passes. No point in strutting the world stage like a peacock Mr Albanese. They don’t vote you in or out. We do.

  5. Andyfiftysix

    As i suggested last year, Labor is really libs lite. Their only idea is to run liberal policies competantly.
    They need to get out of ideology and into the real world. Their one big policy of the voice is fine but its no panacea to all that befalls us. The big issues are housing, lack of income and energy. You can have the finest ideals but if you turn your back on those in need, you are no better than the other shits.
    There are simple things that can make a dramatic difference. 1/ get rid of mutual obligation. All its done is create an industry that wastes everyone’s time and money. Stop trying to imprison people into poverty. 2/ allow people dependant on welfare to earn a reasonable amount, and i dont mean $150 a fortnight. Thats only 1 day of work. Who the fuck is going to employ you for 1 stupid day? That income should never be taxed at 50% as it currently is. 3/ do the calculations on a UBI. “Super” payments can be used to help fund it. We don’t need $1.4trillion dollars locked away while 1/3 of us are living in poverty.

    What the shit goes on here? I have always posted as andy56 now all of a sudden no numbers are allowed in my name. It just makes it more tedious to spell it out. I could change it to four queue or ffaakk u. If You want me to keep it civil, use a bit of common sense and stop the lunacy.

  6. wam

    What an impressive list especially with so many women.
    Looks like they have found a voice under labor and wont the loonies help rupert make a quid out of controversy?
    poms will be big winners in aUKus:
    Why Britain Was the Big Winner
    London avoided the worst of the fallout with France, but stands to reap the most benefits from the deal.

    By David Camroux
    December 02, 2021

  7. Konn

    Labor, no help for the base of the financial pyramid but pledge $243B Stage 3 tax cuts for those who need zero assistance. Stage 3 tax cuts were designed in keeping with other policies driven by the Una-Party hypocrites.
    The ABC Drum (Wed 26/04) had a segment that discussed whether Tasmania can afford to build a new AFL stadium. One radio host from Hobart suggested the land set aside for a stadium would be better put to use as an affordable social housing site. The issue of tax breaks driving unaffordability of shelter came up. One of the panel, advertising agent Toby Ralph, attempted to mansplain that ‘investors who had chanced their arm in the housing market’ should not bear the brunt of any tax changes. Right there is the reason for the mess that is shelter in this country, the Great Divide. Legislation that impacts shelter has been taken over by a ‘gambler in a casino’ mentality.
    There is no sustainable social license, just a kind of legislated rorting to benefit the greedy.
    At least ACOSS is standing by the community even if no politician ever does.

  8. wam

    wow GL
    That puts your point into perspective and my drivel into shame.
    Possibly my rabbottians may be able to comprehend such a sad reality of tax cuts and AUKUS and realise the vastness of a $billion.

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