SACOSS meets with service providers in Port Lincoln

DISCUSSION: Jo Clark of West Coast Youth and Community Support with Dr Jen Cleary from Centacare and Ross Womersley from SACOSS. Photo: Jarrad Delaney
DISCUSSION: Jo Clark of West Coast Youth and Community Support with Dr Jen Cleary from Centacare and Ross Womersley from SACOSS. Photo: Jarrad Delaney

The peak state body on non-government health and community services in South Australia has called for a greater increase to JobSeeker during a visit to Port Lincoln this week.

The South Australian Council of Social Services (SACOSS) met with with service providers and stakeholders across Eyre Peninsula and the West Coast at the Port Lincoln Hotel on Monday to discuss issues facing the region.

One of the issues discussed was JobSeeker and the federal government's recent announcement of a $25 a week increase in the base rate.

SACOSS chief executive officer Ross Womersley said this increase was not enough to support those who need it and the Councils of Social Services had called for an increase of $25 per day to help get the income support payment closer to the poverty line.

"$25 a week goes nowhere in that context," he said.

Mr Womersley said the COVID supplement had provided help and confidence for people who needed it, with the added benefit of the money being spent in the community.

"For as long as the COVID supplement was in place we did see some people who for the first time in a long time had the opportunity to go to the supermarket and weren't afraid that they weren't going to be able to pay when they got to the checkout," he said.

West Coast Youth and Community Support in Port Lincoln has also expressed concerns about the conclusion of JobKeeper and JobSeeker and the impact it would have on local families.

Chief executive officer Jo Clark said this income had helped families be able to afford housing prices in the region.

"We have some concerns as a homelessness service for Port Lincoln and Eyre Peninsula for people's ability to continue to pay house market rent and the impact on homeless services," she said.

On the chance to meet with SACOSS Ms Clark said it was a great opportunity for people from across the region to get together and talk about strengths and opportunities for growth.

Mr Womersley said rural and regional SA had faced a very challenging time with COVID, but communities had shown great strength and resilience, and community services have actively collaborated, shown unity, and really stepped up to assist people.

"We are always very interested in what's happening in the regions, inequality and disadvantage doesn't top at the edge of the metropolitan area and it's very important we're well informed in what is happening," he said.