‘Starvation payments’: jobseeker recipients say new rate puts a normal life out of reach

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Twenty-eight-year-old Gene Saraçi, who has been unemployed for four years, says he was “heartbroken” listening to Scott Morrison explain the government’s decision to increase jobseeker payments by just $3.57 a day.

“It just definitely demonstrates that this government has absolutely no concern or compassion towards people that are unemployed or underemployed.

“It effectively reduces me to a situation where I don’t see much hope in terms of financial independence and self-sustainability.”

Saraçi, who describes himself as a freelance photographer, said he had just moved into a home in Geelong, Victoria prior to the pandemic, after being homeless for about a year. The pandemic supplement, which was $550 a fortnight before it was reduced to $150 this year, allowed him to set up his home.

“I was able to buy furniture, I was able to lift my quality of life. It was just the basic minimum standard that we expect and are entitled to as citizens.

“I felt accepted, and that there was some hope. But now it feels like I’ve been set back years in progress because they’ve decided, well, too bad so sad.

“It’s dehumanising…

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