Waging war on the unemployed in the midst of a pandemic guarantees more people will die

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 31 August 2020

Renters And Housing Union stands with the call to Keep the Rate. As the country bands together to stay at home and suppress the virus, the Federal Government continues to show their contempt for our health and safety with their proposed cuts to Jobseeker and Jobkeeper.

Melbourne has endured a 7% spike in unemployment since June 26, and instead of guaranteeing a living wage, the Federal Government is obsessing over reopening borders and getting renters back into precarious work. Once again the economy is being prioritised over human lives.

The call to #KeeptheRate is almost unanimous across the political spectrum. The Australian Council of Social Services, parliamentary enquiries, 19 child welfare groups, trade unions and economic groups all agree that keeping the rate is necessary to keep people out of poverty.

Modelling by the Grattan Institute and the Bankwest Curtin Economic Institute shows that not only is raising the rate affordable, it’s crucial to protect the country from a longer and more severe recession.

It has taken a global pandemic to update unemployment welfare for the first and only time in 30 years. Reducing it now will leave millions of people in jeopardy.

Alongside millions, we demand the Federal Government Raises the Rate for Good.

Quotes attributable to: Jesse James Frances, RAHU Organiser

We’re talking about our ability to pay rent, buy groceries and afford medical care. RAHU will not sit by and watch our lives be debated as though we are a resource to be divested from.

If the Liberal government gets its way in parliament today, millions of unemployed workers will be plunged back into poverty, during the highest period of unemployment Australia has ever seen. The contempt for our health and safety is palpable.

The idea that there are endless jobs available is unfounded, and furthers the Liberal government’s war on the poor. People deserve the minimum of basic security at any time, let alone during a global crisis.

Media contact: Paddy: 0407 712 579 or email [email protected]

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