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The dole is a “trap not a trampoline”

A social justice agency is calling for the Federal Government to rethink the planned cut to JobSeeker. September will see the payment drop by $300 a fortnight.

JobSeeker – formally known as Newstart, colloquially known as the Dole, was increased to about $1100 a fortnight during the peak of the pandemic with the addition of a $550 “coronavirus supplement”.

Brotherhood of St Laurence Executive Director Conny Lenneberg told Oliver Peterson the increase meant people could “lead a normal life”.

“It means being able to buy fresh food, eating three meals a day, paying the rent.

“If we look at reducing JobSeeker, it puts a single person back on $56 a day, which is not sufficient to pay the bills, pay the rent and prepare for work.”

The OECD and Business Council of Australia has said the previous low rate of income support is a “barrier to employment.”

“It’s absolutely critical the rate of unemployment benefit needs to be adequate so that people can not be pushed into homelessness and poverty and adequately support themselves and more importantly their children so they can be ready to find work,” said Ms Lenneberg.

Ms Lenneberg is also calling on the social security system to be overhauled and set by “an independent tribunal”.

“At the moment our social security safety net, prior to these increases, was a trap not a trampoline.

“The idea is that you lift people back up again.”

Listen to the full interview: