JobSeeker is inadequate regardless of a recipients age, it should be raised for all

The rate of JobSeeker needs to be increased for all recipients, not just some, according to Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG).

While HAAG welcomes the Federal Government’s acknowledgement of the ageism that places additional pressure on older workers, leaving under 55s languishing well below the poverty line is not the way forward.

“The financial challenges facing those relying on the JobSeeker payment apply to everyone irrespective of age. Rent is not cheaper for under 55s,” York says.

“All people, regardless of age, deserve to live free of the grinding poverty that the inadequacy of JobSeeker creates.”

The planned increase is reported as being “modest” and less than what the sector has been calling for. That’s cause for concern given the current housing and cost of living crisis facing people around Australia. Recently Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot found there were only seven properties across the country that were affordable for a person receiving JobSeeker.

HAAG supports calls for JobSeeker to be raised to at least equal to the poverty line for all recipients. Last month, a committee tasked by Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth to examine JobSeeker found current levels are significantly inadequate.

“We do not support pitting of generations against each other,” York says.

“Older people face unique circumstances that require policy responses specific to them. But raising the rate of JobSeeker needs to happen for all age groups.”

Increasing income support payments is critical to addressing Australia’s cost of living crisis, but there is also a clear need to increase social and affordable housing stock around the nation to ensure older people can access affordable homes.

“It would be much easier to welcome additional assistance if we were in a place where JobSeeker payments were adequate for all,” York says.

“Every day we have people telling us about the toll the inadequacy of JobSeeker takes at various points of their lives. We had hoped this budget would provide everyone who relies on JobSeeker some respite.”