25 September 2020

During this pandemic many people have lost work or had their hours reduced through no fault of their own. They are now relying on JobKeeper and JobSeeker to get food on the table, pay the bills and make ends meet.

But the Morrison Liberal National Government is cutting both payments on Monday.

Cuts and changes to the JobKeeper scheme will see some local businesses and workers lose access to this essential payment completely, while others will have their payments slashed by between $300 and $750 per fortnight

Around 4,300 local businesses will be impacted, and up to 16,400 local workers will have their income significantly reduced.

On JobSeeker, the Liberal National Government is cutting the Coronavirus Supplement by $300 a fortnight.

This Supplement is also paid to people receiving a range of other Centrelink payments including the Parenting Payment and the Widow Allowance.

In the electorate of Wannon, more than 12,000 people will have their Centrelink entitlements slashed, many of whom lost their jobs during the pandemic.

People who rely on social security payments are more likely to spend and support local jobs and businesses.

For the Wannon electorate, the impact of these cuts will be devastating. Ending support too early will cost local jobs and hurt those who have recently found themselves unemployed.

The JobKeeper changes will see up to $14.7 million ripped out of the local economy each and every fortnight. The JobSeeker cuts will remove $3.8 million.

From Warrnambool to Stawell and Beaufort to Dartmoor, that’s more than $18 million not spent in South West Victorian businesses.

Nearly one million Australians are unemployed, and unemployment is expected to continue increasing. Finding a job right now is tough, and in the regions getting a job is more than twice as hard with 28 people receiving unemployment payments for every one job vacancy.

It makes no sense for the Liberal National Government to be withdrawing support without a comprehensive jobs plan to replace it.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister said we were all in this together. But how can that be true while the Liberal National Government is ripping support away from people who need it to make ends meet?

This recession will be deeper, and the unemployment queues longer, because the Morrison Liberal National Government is pulling support for people and the economy too soon without having a plan for jobs.

This opinion piece was first published by the Ararat Advocate and the Pyrenees Advocate.