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Mutual obligations must be immediately suspended to keep people safe

Media Release
Janet Rice 12 Jan 2022

The Australian Greens are calling on the Morrison Government to immediately suspend mutual obligations on jobseekers and others on income support to protect the community during Omicron’s rapid spread. 

Australian Greens spokesperson for community affairs and social services, Senator Janet Rice said:

“Before the pandemic, mutual obligations were already gross, discriminatory and ineffective; now meeting the requirements is putting people in direct danger. 

“Forcing people on JobSeeker and other income support - many of whom might be sick or caring for someone who is sick - to attend interviews, job services provider appointments and other face-to-face activities is putting thousands of people at further and unnecessary risk of contracting COVID.

“The Morrison Government must immediately suspend mutual obligation requirements until the pandemic is over, or better yet, abolish the broken system altogether.

“Morrison must stop pretending the pandemic is over and realise people are struggling more than ever to keep their heads above water. The government has made the deliberate choice to keep JobSeeker and other payments below the poverty line, and made the COVID disaster payments prohibitively difficult to access for most people who need them.

“The government must immediately and permanently raise income payments for all who need it back to the $550 a fortnight pandemic supplement we saw in 2020. 

“We are still in the middle of this pandemic. But unlike 2020, the Morrison Government has no plan and is providing almost no support to the people that most need it. 

“If the government has $100 billion to spend on dangerous nuclear submarines, they have enough not to force people to live in poverty.”

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