Thousands of Wimmera welfare recipients be worse off after the federal government's planned cuts to the Coronavirus Supplement payment at the turn of the new year.
JobSeeker and Youth Allowance recipient data released by the Department of Social Services reveals up to $176,200 would be wiped off welfare payments in the Wimmera per fortnight.
The Coronavirus Supplement payment, made in addition made in addition to the base JobSeeker or Youth Allowance payment, had reduced from $750 when it was first introduced to $250, and is set to drop to $150 from January 1, under the government's current plans.
In the Horsham and Horsham Region statistical areas, up to $90,300 would be wiped off fortnightly payments, according to the DSS' November data.
Yarriambiack residents would be $35,600 worse off, while Nhill and West Wimmera residents would see a collective $50,300 less in their bank accounts.
The planned cuts drew criticism from welfare groups, who feared many would fall below the poverty line.
An Anglicare report released in early December found more than a third of people receiving JobSeeker payments prior to the COVID-19 pandemic were left to live on less than $7 a day after they had paid for accommodation.
"We have a system that forces people to run a gauntlet of interviews, reporting, and administration that isn't leading to work," Anglicare chief executive Kasy Chambers told Australian Community Media at the time.
"It's time to stop punishing people for being out of work, and start giving them the support they need."
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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg previously said the JobKeeper payments had supported more than 3.6 million workers and about one million businesses during the pandemic, with payments worth nearly $70 billion in the six months to the end of September.
Under current plans, the JobKeeper payment would also be reduced by up to $200 a fortnight from January 4.
Latest data shows over 700 Wimmera residents receive the JobKeeper payment.
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