A Centrelink centre. Picture: Che Chorley
A Centrelink centre. Picture: Che Chorley

33,000 CQ jobs at risk under JobSeeker changes: report

A DELOITTE Access Economics report states that the Federal Government’s JobSeeker and Youth Allowance cuts will be most potent for regional residents.

Last week, the coronavirus supplement for those on JobSeeker dropped from $550 to $250.

The supplement will disappear entirely on December 31, so that the money received by, for instance, a single person with no children, will drop to about $565 a fortnight rather than $815.

In June, there were 17,738 people receiving JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and the Parenting Payment in the Capricornia federal electorate, and as of July, there were 2125 jobs advertised in the Central Queensland area.

The Deloitte report suggested that reducing the coronavirus supplement could result in the loss of 33,000 jobs in Queensland.

It said regions that had traditionally relied on the tourism and service sectors for employment would be significantly affected.

Deloitte Access Economics Partner Nicki Hutley said: “Our analysis clearly shows that the Government’s plans to reduce income support would set back the economy even further.

“We also know that this would take a serious toll on the wellbeing of millions of people who are without paid work, especially those in regional communities.”

Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said the best thing for Queensland’s regions was a “permanent and adequate increase in the JobSeeker payment”.

“The doubling of Newstart at the start of the pandemic came as a huge relief,” she said.

“After 26 years without a real increase to Newstart, people without paid work were finally able to afford the basics.

“But they now face a deeply uncertain future, with these devastating cuts to their already tight budgets and 28 people receiving JobSeeker for every job vacancy in regional areas.”

Dr Goldie said ACOSS was “calling on the government to move quickly to legislate a permanent, adequate JobSeeker rate that means people can cover the basics.”

Queensland Senator Murray Watt said last week that 29,000 Central Queenslanders were worse off under the Federal Government’s welfare reductions.

“The government has the power to reverse these cuts and it should do so immediately,” he said.

“Prematurely winding back support will cost jobs and hurt the local economy.”

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry responded at the time, saying there was a jobs boom in Central Queensland and that “employers are crying out for workers”.

“If you’re struggling, your income’s not high enough, go out and find a job,” she said.

“It might not be in the field that you want at this time, but until things improve, there’s a lot of jobs going out there.”

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