This week in Australian politics: more Morrison government cuts

By Terri Butler MP

03 January 2021

Scott Morrison is bringing in the new year by cutting crucial financial support to millions of Australians, who stand to lose up to $300 per fortnight.

From today, the economic support payments once lauded by Scott Morrison as crucial lifelines will be slashed, cutting support from the economy, small businesses and local communities and ripping hundreds of dollars from the pockets of some of Australia’s most vulnerable.

From 1 January, Scott Morrison is slashing the rate of the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement by $100 per fortnight, hurting over two million Australians. From 4 January, Scott Morrison is slashing the rate of JobKeeper by $200 per fortnight for those on the top rate, and $100 per fortnight for those on the lower rate.

These cuts to support come at a time of heightened uncertainty, new COVID-19 outbreaks and when Australia is already in the grip of a jobs crisis. At a time when 2.2 million Australians are looking for work or more work and 90,000 more are expected to join unemployment queues by March, according to the Government’s own forecasts, now is not the right time to be cutting crucial support.

After the end of March, unemployment payments are scheduled to go all the way back down to the old Newstart rate of $40 a day. Business, economists, experts and those who work on the front line with people who have lost their jobs are all calling for a permanent increase to the base rate of unemployment payments. In a country like Australia, people should not have to live in poverty.

The new year should be a time of optimism and hope but Scott Morrison is choosing to deliver a financial blow to millions of Australians. Instead of a plan to create jobs, boost wages and tackle underemployment or outlining a permanent increase to JobSeeker, the Morrison Government is focused on cutting vital support, cutting workers’ pay and cutting superannuation.