Scott Morrison – JobSeeker thousands need government to do the right thing
In June last year, speaking on Sydney radio with Ray Hadley, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was happy to play up the spurious stereotype: “What we have to be worried about now is that we can’t allow the JobSeeker payment to become an impediment to people … going doing work, getting extra shifts.”
The figures tell another story.
While the latest unemployment figures for January were encouraging, dropping by nearly 4 per cent, there were still 877,600 people unemployed. On top of that, more than 1 million were underemployed, meaning they would work more hours if they could. And that does not include those who have given up hope of finding work and dropped out of the jobs market.
Match that with the January ANZ jobs data, which shows there were 161,582 advertisements for new positions. It’s not hard to do the maths that there are many times more people looking for work than positions that need to be filled.
It’s a glaring gap and should give pause to anyone who thinks finding a job is only dependent on effort. For many people, there is simply no work to be had.
And the data is showing that despite the economy showing signs of recovery, the number of people who have fallen into long-term unemployment is on the rise. That is a deeply troubling new trend with real consequences.
Reserve Bank research published last month showed one in seven of those out of work for a year or more went without meals because of a shortage of money. One in 10 was unable to heat their house. An increase of about $3.50 a day is barely going to make a dent in those figures.
While the Coalition should be commended for finally raising the rate, it has fallen well short of offering much respite for those seeking work while living below the $470-a-week poverty line. There may not be votes in raising the rate even further, but that should not stop the government doing the right thing by almost a million Australians.
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