Australian Greens are calling on the Morrison government to immediately suspend mutual obligations of job seekers and others receiving income assistance to protect the community during the rapid spread of Omicron.
Australian Greens spokesperson for Community Affairs and Social Services Senator Janet Rice said:
“Before the pandemic, mutual obligations were already crude, discriminatory and ineffective; now meeting the requirements puts people in direct danger.
“Forcing people on JobSeeker and other income supports – many of whom may be sick or caring for a sick person – to attend interviews, appointments with employment service providers and other face-to-face activities exposes thousands of people to additional and unnecessary risk. to contract COVID.
“The Morrison government must immediately suspend mutual obligation requirements until the pandemic is over, or better yet, abolish the failed system altogether.
“Morrison needs to stop pretending the pandemic is over and realize that people are finding it harder than ever to keep their heads above water. The government has made the deliberate choice to keep JobSeeker and other payments below the poverty line, and has made payments for COVID disasters extremely difficult to access for most people who need them.
“The government must immediately and permanently increase income payments for all who need it until the pandemic supplement of $ 550 per fortnight that we have seen in 2020.
“We are still in the midst of this pandemic. But unlike 2020, the Morrison government has no plans and is providing almost no support to the people who need it most.
“If the government has $ 100 billion to spend on dangerous nuclear submarines, it has enough not to force people to live in poverty. “