Centrelink staff call for fairer JobSeeker conditions

The union representing the public sector including Centrelink and child support workers, the CPSU, is calling for sense to prevail on social security.

On Friday afternoon the Government is expected to tip over one million Australians back towards poverty and uncertainty by reintroducing so-called mutual obligation and reducing the JobSeeker payment. This is on top of a number of further restrictions set to return over the next fortnight. These include:

  • Mutual Obligation will return on 28 September for all states except Victoria, at a time when there are 7.2 applicants for every job advertisement;
  • A reduction in the Coronavirus Supplement from $550 to $250 a fortnight;
  • The Asset Test suspended in March, will be reintroduced from 25 September for all recipients. This means anyone over the limit will have JobSeeker suspended. Letters have already been set to all current recipients; and
  • The Liquid Assets Test was suspended in March and will now be reintroduced for new JobSeeker claims from 25 September on, with a waiting period time maximum of 13 weeks. Liquid assets covered by this test include any money owed by your employer, and any superannuation taken out.

At a time when unemployment is high and Victoria is still in lockdown, our members want to be able to support all Australians in need. And the community wants to make sure that their family and friends have access to a strong and reasonable safety net. But current government policies will make life much harder for close to a million Australians.

Latest job vacancy figures show 927,600 people are currently unemployed, many of whom will have accessed their superannuation under this Government’s policy. Those that have accessed superannuation in their time of need, now face being cut off from jobseeker payments under these changes.

CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly said, “There are close to one million unemployed Australians today, and they are doing it tough. They do not need the added stress of losing their income support if they cannot meet an arbitrary test on their job-hunting efforts. Our members want to help the government get this right, that’s why they are asking for the supplement to be maintained and for mutual obligation and the liquid asset waiting period to remain paused.”

“Our message to those million unemployed Australians looking to the government for help, is our members see you, and they will help you however they can. These changes are the responsibility of the Morrison Government and Minister Robert, not workers in Centrelink and Services Australia.”

“Services Australia workers have been working harder and longer than ever, responding to the unprecedented need to support so many people in the Australian community. Services Australia workers respect you and we ask that you respect them and the difficult job they are doing.”