Cuts to Jobseeker, Jobkeeper will cost Murray Bridge $750,000 per fortnight

Labor Senator Marielle Smith wants to highlight the financial impact more than 2500 locals are about to feel.

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At least 2500 locals will be left worse off, and more than $750,000 per fortnight will leave the Murray Bridge economy, when government payments are cut in the coming days.

Starting this Friday, recipients of Jobseeker, Youth Allowance and other government payments will get $300 less per fortnight.

In the Murray Bridge district alone, around 2150 people were receiving either Jobseeker or Youth Allowance last month, according to the Department of Social Services.

The Jobkeeper payment – for employees at businesses which have lost revenue due to COVID-19 – will also go down by either $300 or $750 per fortnight from Monday, depending how many hours employees have worked.

Almost 350 Murray Bridge businesses were still processing those payments for an unknown number of employees last week.

Further reductions are due to Jobseeker in December, and Jobkeeper in January.

Locals are anxious, visiting Labor Senator says

Labor Senator Marielle Smith, who spent Monday meeting locals at Murray Bridge Community Centre, said the looming payment cut had been their number-one concern.

“People are feeling very anxious about the future of that (Jobseeker) payment, particularly in December, when it is scheduled to snap back to its previous $40-a-day rate,” she said.

“People aren’t sure what that will mean for them and for the community.

“When it’s at a low rate like that, obviously it’s an amount that can’t be reinvested in local businesses, which has a flow-on effect for local jobs.”

With 42 job seekers for every vacancy in regional South Australia, according to Labor research, the low rate of payments contributed to a cycle of disadvantage, she suggested.

“People aren’t choosing not to work,” she said.

“The work is not available to them.”

She argued that the rate of Jobseeker needed to be permanently set at a level higher than what it was before COVID-19.

Murray Bridge News will seek a response from federal MP Tony Pasin.

Photo: Marielle Smith/Twitter.