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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, says the Scrooge-like increase to the JobSeeker payment will do next to nothing to ease the pain for Australians living on struggle street.

“Returning JobSeeker to the pre-pandemic level of $40 a day would have been devastating,” Mr Wilkie said. “But the $50-per-fortnight increase only equates to an extra $3.57 per day – not even the price of a coffee or a salad roll. It’s a Scrooge-like move and simply not enough.

“In the Clark electorate alone, there are about 9,500 people on JobSeeker and the end of the $150 COVID supplement will strip about $1.4m from the local economy each fortnight.

“Just last week I shared the stories of 58 single mothers with Federal Parliament in the hope MPs would learn something from them, change policy and finally end this poverty by design. These women collectively spoke of how the JobSeeker COVID-19 supplement had greatly improved their lives.

“Australia is a rich and fortunate country and there is simply no excuse that people struggling to secure work cannot afford to cover basic needs like rent, running a car and putting enough food on the table.

“We can afford to pay every eligible Australian a base rate to cover their reasonable expenses and allow them a dignified life, not one where people are forced to choose between having enough to eat or paying their rent.”