The decision by the Morrison Government to dramatically reduce rates of JobKeeper and JobSeeker income support from September is a blow for young workers who are struggling to find work and make ends meet during the coronavirus crisis.
Today’s announcement to continue some level of support beyond September comes after young workers and their unions have campaigned for months to ensure that the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs would not be cut. However, the large decrease in rates for both JobKeeper and JobSeeker will hit young workers hard. Young workers and our communities need jobs, not cuts.
For young workers, relying on JobKeeper and JobSeeker, the cuts announced today mean that it will be even harder to keep up with rent and afford the basic necessities of food and medical care and education expenses, and all while unemployment for young people is high and rising. Young workers are more likely to work in the hardest hit industries of hospitality, retail, entertainment, arts and recreation and are more likely to be precariously employed. The latest national youth unemployment rate is 16.4% (compared to 7.4% for all workers).
JobKeeper was already inadequate as it locked out millions of young casual and migrant workers including international students. To continue to exclude them and also cut the rate during this crisis is wrong and risks creating more unemployment and throwing more young workers into poverty.
“Cutting the rates of JobKeeper and JobSeeker is only going to worsen the impact of the coronavirus crisis on young workers and our community. We need jobs, not cuts.” said Arian McVeigh, Manager of the Young Workers Centre.
““These cuts to the rate of JobKeeper and JobSeeker will make the impact of the coronavirus economic crisis on young workers and our communities even more damaging.”
“JobKeeper and JobSeeker must be extended to all workers – young workers who are short term casuals and working on visas have been excluded from JobKeeper and now face a drastic reduction in JobSeeker rates at a time of growing unemployment.”