Most Aussies shun $40 a day JobSeeker rate

Most Australians think unemployment support should not revert to its pre-coronavirus rate of $40 per day once the pandemic subsides.

Essential polling shows 57 per cent of the 1093 Australians surveyed think JobSeeker should not be cut to its previous amount, while 15 per cent are unsure.

The payment has been doubled to about $1100 a fortnight but the government says it will return to $550 at the end of September.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg remains firm the government’s stance is to try and get people a job rather than raising the long-term welfare rate.

“We have been very clear that the measures we have announced are temporary,” he told the National Press Club on Tuesday.

Australian Council of Social Service chief Cassandra Goldie says the JobSeeker payment, formerly known as Newstart, must be enough for people to survive.

“It’s clear we need a permanent fix to our social safety net. Our income support system was cruel before this crisis began,” Dr Goldie said.

“We can never go back to the brutality of trying to survive on $40 a day. We need a secure safety net that protects us all from poverty.”

Labor supports an increase but hasn’t specified an amount.

Dr Goldie says reducing the rate after the pandemic will stall economic recovery.

“We need a decent social security safety net in place that works at all times,” she said.

The poll also found most Australians think it’s too soon to ease restrictions, although fewer people feel this way than in prior weeks.

About 20 per cent think restrictions should be eased within the next month, which is a slight increase.

As well, 45 per cent think schools should reopen for all children, 23 per cent think learning should remain online and 32 per cent believe schools should reopen for kids of essential workers. 

The majority of those polled are happy with the government’s response to coronavirus, a sentiment which has grown as the year has progressed.

Close to half of Australians think they’re somewhat unlikely to contract coronavirus, 26 per cent think it’s somewhat likely, 23 per cent very unlikely and five per cent think it’s very likely.

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