A major charity is bracing for an avalanche of Australians needing financial support when the coronavirus boost is stripped from welfare payments, the Nambucca Guardian reports.
The supplement was initially $550 per fortnight and is now $150, but will end on March 31.
Parliament is currently debating a bill to increase the JobSeeker unemployment support rate to about $44 a day, which increases it from the pre-pandemic level of $40 a day.
UnitingCare Australia’s national director Claerwen Little is “deeply, deeply disappointed”.
“Our services are about to be avalanched with people who cannot pay their bills, people who cannot afford their food, people who cannot afford to live in their rental accommodation anymore,” she told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
“We could have been celebrating today that permanent, adequate increase that we’ve been all asking for. But we’re not.”
People on welfare support are fearful about what’s about to happen to them, Ms Little said.
Women’s Legal Service Queensland chief Angela Lynch says the coronavirus supplement had let people live a dignified life.
“It has allowed them to be able to put food on the table for themselves and their children,” she said.
“It also has allowed them to put some savings aside, which they were never able to do before, to escape domestic violence relationships.”
Ms Lynch said 90 per cent of women who seek domestic violence services have been financially abused.
Dole rate to cause ‘avalanche’ for charity (Nambucca Guardian)