Women leaders call for JobSeeker boost to promote women’s safety

Media release | Monday, 6 May 2024

More than 200 women leaders including from business, unions, philanthropy, academia and the community sector have written to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urging him to provide economic security for women leaving violence by raising the rate of Jobseeker and Youth Allowance.

Djirra CEO Antoinette Braybrook AM said: 

“Every woman who reaches out for our services for their safety is living in extreme poverty.   Economic security is vital to saving their lives, keeping mums with their children and, for our women, preventing criminalization and incarceration. Fixing the shockingly low rate of Jobseeker and Youth Allowance is an easy yet long overdue step towards saving Aboriginal women’s lives.”

Chief Executive Women President Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz said:

“Women’s safety is intertwined with their economic security. Poverty makes it harder to escape domestic and family violence and live safely. Repairing the social safety net to build women’s economic security must be a cornerstone of the government’s approach to solving gendered violence.”

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Dr Anna Cody said:

“Raising JobSeeker and related payments to liveable levels in the federal budget would help lift about half a million women out of poverty. Bolstering women’s economic security is crucial to giving them the means to leave and remain free of violence.”

Magda Szubanski AO said:

“Forty-five years ago, I worked in a women’s refuge so I know exactly what helps women be safe. It isn’t just supporting women to leave a violent relationship, but supporting them over the longer term. Adequate income support is crucial if we are to break the cycle.”

Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said:

“Leaving a violent relationship requires financial security. For younger women, trying to survive on Youth Allowance – just $45 a day – is impossible. They need enough to support a pathway to safety, education and employment. One-off short term payments are not enough.”

Arise Foundation Co-Founder and Co-CEO Tasnia Alam Hannah said:

““For a service designed to support women into employment, JobSeeker is barely a lifeline, let alone a safety net. It forces women into an impossible choice between enduring poverty or staying in violent situations. Women need long-term economic security, including adequate income support, to cover essential expenses like rent and childcare.”

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie AO said: 

“We cannot end violence against women without addressing poverty. The fastest and most effective way to end poverty is by lifting JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments so they are enough for women to live in safety and with dignity.”

You can read the full letter and add your name here

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