ST VINCENT de Paul Society's Bathurst Central Council president Neil Rabbett believes the changes to the JobSeeker payment from next month is not enough to support people who are doing it tough.
Government ministers have agreed to permanently lift the base rate of the JobSeeker payment by $50 a fortnight when the coronavirus supplement ends next month, which means those receiving the benefit will get $615.70 a fortnight, which is still a drop from the current rate of $715 a fortnight, when the $150 coronavirus supplement expires at the end of March.
Mr Rabbett said the St Vincent de Paul Society has been advocating for an increase rate for a number of years, as an extra $50 a month - or just under $4 a day - doesn't make much of a difference.
"We've been advocating for several years now to increase the rate. Obviously, with this JobSeeker payment for the past 12 months, it's made it a lot easier for those who are doing it tough," he said.
"These payments have been reduced on three occasions now come March. $4 a day is nothing when you look at it. That's only a $50 increase a fortnight and that's not going to be able to help anyone."
Mr Rabbett believes an increase of anywhere between $150-200 would be more adequate.
"We see a lot of people in really bad situations and obviously the past year and $50 is not going to do much to help them, especially when the coronavirus payment is to be cut," he said.
"If you take it up to $200 a fortnight, that's a little bit more, about $20 a day."
Over the past few months, Mr Rabbett said he's noted an increase in calls to St Vincent de Paul Society's hotline.
"I know we're getting 60 phone calls a day at Orange for assistance," he said.
"If you go across the whole area, that could be between 80-100 calls per day. That's increased over the past few months, when payments have been cut down."
Contact the local St Vincent's store on 6331 4094.
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