COTA Australia response to the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Extension of Coronavirus Support) Bill 2020

The Coronavirus Supplement has been a key plank of an overall economic response to COVID-19 (combined with Jobkeeper and more recently JobMaker) and has assisted 2.25 million people since it was introduced. The supplement has delivered a much-needed boost to both individual hip pockets and the wider economy.

COTA Australia welcomes measures such as the Coronavirus Supplement as an essential support for mature workers thrown into unemployment or at risk of it due to COVID-19. However, our submission also challenges the reinstatement of the Liquid Assets Waiting Period and failure to address  a much-needed permanent increase to the base rate of Jobseeker. History shows that mature workers are disproportionally impacted by economic down turns and many older Australians have reached out to us with a great deal of fear and trepidation about no longer being able to meet basic costs of living (such as purchasing fresh food or meeting out-of-pocket-healthcare-expenses) once the supplement is removed. Looking forward, there is a need to replace the Coronavirus Supplement with permanent increases to the Jobseeker rate and to the maximum rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA), and to the indexation of both.