Media Releases

Back to struggle street

July 20, 2021

“Back to struggle street” report highlights handbrake on South Australians escaping poverty.

A new report from the Anti-Poverty Network of SA has shown how the federal government’s cuts to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payments are keeping South Australians in poverty, particularly the $50 a week cut to payments on April 1.

This report follows a survey of 282 people living on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment and explores the grim impacts on people’s health and finances of the cuts.

Last year, from the end of April to the end of September, JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, and Parenting Payment were temporarily lifted by $275 a week, through the COVID Supplement. The impacts were truly life-changing, people reported they were finding it much easier to keep a roof over their head, put food on the table, and pay for bills, and medical expenses. But following federal government cuts we have returned to preCOVID levels of hardship.

Of concern is how many people are now reporting that adequate food and healthcare is out of reach.

Key Findings:

• 72.1% of people are reporting that they are cutting back on medical expenses.

• 80.9% of people are avoiding using heating or cooling.

• 53.4% people have $7 a day, or less, after paying their rent.

• 77.4% of people said that with JobSeeker now at $44 a day, they have been skipping meals.

• 68.5% of people said the latest JobSeeker cuts will have either a ‘significant’ (32.3%) or
‘extreme’ (36.2%) impact on their ability to cover medicines and specialist appointments.

• 78.6% said the lowering of JobSeeker and other payments to $44 a day has had either a ‘significant’ (32.2%) or ‘extreme’ (46.4%) impact on their mental health.

Dale Beasley says:

“The overall picture is grim, and unmistakable.

“Overwhelming numbers of people on these payments are reporting that they have little money left over after paying their rent, are skipping meals and medicines, and struggling with other essential costs.”

“Without adequate levels of support for people to be able to eat and afford housing, there’s a handbrake on their ability to search for employment and attend job interviews.”

“The reliance on community services and other support places those services under increased pressure."

“It’s a false economy to keep JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payments low when we know it results in increased strain on our public and community services, and when we know we can afford better.”

“Especially as we live under enduring threat of workplaces and industries being shut down by COVID, there needs to be a smarter way forward from this government. The Federal Government demonstrated last year, how quickly and decisive it could act to reduce (indeed, almost eliminate) poverty, and there were clear benefits to people and to the economy.”

All Media Enquiries: Dale Beasley – 8279 2222