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Raise the Rate has our support

13 Jul 2020

We have increased our support for the Raise the Rate campaign in light of the clear opportunity presented by the temporary increase of payments to jobseekers as part of the government’s coronavirus response. 

Since early 2019 The Ross Trust has provided funds to the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS)-run campaign, with small contributions to start and increasing the commitment to $100,000 for this latest phase of advocacy. 

These funds will go towards the continued lobbying and advocacy of the Raise the Rate campaign team, to help ensure jobless people are no longer forced to live on an unsustainable $40 per day. 

With previous contributions of $15,000 and $50,000 to the campaign, the Trust has taken the view that now is the time to push hard for this change. 

ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie, recently presented to the Trustees and staff of the Trust to outline the next phase of the campaign and highlight the opportunity to advocate strongly to government before it takes its next steps in relation to the JobSeeker payments and coronavirus supplements. 

The campaign calls for “a permanent and adequate increase that ensures people on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income support payments can cover the basics they need, including housing.”

"This requires a permanent income floor that keeps people out of poverty and additional support for people renting privately, people with disability or illness, and people with family caring responsibilities.

“The doubling of JobSeeker to the current rate $550 per week is still $200 per week less than the minimum wage. People are desperate to find jobs but there are not enough available. People need confidence and hope for the future. We need to have their back.

“Making sure people have enough to cover the basics is not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do for the economy. A $75 per week permanent increase to the old rate is effectively a $200 per week cut to the current rate. Cutting the incomes of almost 2 million people by $200 per week in September would not be what businesses and the economy need to rebuild.”

As part of the Raise the Rate campaign, there will be a National Day of Action on 14 July. 

The Federal Government is expected to make an announcement of a permanent increase to JobSeeker during the 23 July economic and fiscal update, with the size of the change unclear. 

If you want to understand more about the campaign and perhaps take action by writing to the Prime Minister or Treasurer, take a look at the Raise the Rate website for background and details of how to take action. The site also has important stories from people on the current Newstart and Youth allowances, which illustrate the challenges faced when trying to live on $40 a day. 

Ross Trust CEO, Sarah Hardy, said the Trust was very pleased to be joining with other philanthropic organisations to support the push for more sustainable income support as part of a move to a more equitable society. “In our work we see the impact of low socio-economic circumstances on learning outcomes, as just one example, and on that measure alone, we feel there is an urgent need to push for change. 

“With the full impacts of the coronavirus still to play out, we know that the numbers of people out of work will increase and that will have a dramatic impact on our economy and the capacity of the long-term unemployed to gain meaningful jobs.

“We’ve been given a clear understanding of ACOSS’s approach and we’re right behind this campaign.”