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The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate



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ISSN 2203-5249

RESEARCH PAPER SERIES, 2020-21 14 JULY 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate Michael Klapdor

Social Policy Section

Christopher Giuliano Statistics and Mapping Section

Executive summary • In the period December 2019 to May 2020, the number of people in receipt of the main income

support payments for the unemployed doubled—from around 820,000 to 1,640,000.

• The main unemployment-related income support payments are JobSeeker Payment and Youth

Allowance (Other). JobSeeker Payment replaced Newstart Allowance and a number of other payments on 20 March 2020.

• Job losses and reduced working hours resulting from government measures to limit the spread

of the COVID-19 virus have been the main driver of the increase in income support recipients.

• A number of other factors have also affected recipient numbers including policy changes to

expand eligibility for payments in response to COVID-19, the economic impact of the 2019-20 bushfires in many parts of Australia, and the introduction of the JobKeeper Payment (a wage subsidy).

• Increases in the number of JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) have varied

significantly between electorates. Electorates in south-east Queensland, western Sydney and Melbourne’s west have seen some of the largest increases in the total number of recipients of these payments.

• These electorates also saw a significant increase in the percentage of the estimated working

age population receiving JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other).

• Electorates in Sydney’s eastern and northern suburbs, as well as Melbourne’s eastern suburbs

have seen the largest percentage increases, but are coming off a low base of recipient numbers prior to 2020.

• This Statistical Snapshot sets out a time-series of JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance

(Other) recipient number estimates in each electorate for the period December 2019 to May 2020.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 2

Contents

Executive summary ........................................................................ 1

Introduction ................................................................................... 3

Notes on the data and methodology .................................................. 3

JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) .......................... 4

JobSeeker Payment ............................................................................. 4

Youth Allowance (Other) ..................................................................... 4

Changes in response to COVID-19 ...................................................... 5

Impact of COVID-19 on recipient numbers ...................................... 5

Table 1: selected income support payment recipients, December 2019-May 2020 ................................................................................. 6

Impact by state and territory .............................................................. 7

Table 2: Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance, JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) recipients by state or territory, December 2019-May 2020 ............................................... 8

Impact by electorate ........................................................................... 8

Table 3: electorates with the largest increase in the number of JobSeeker Payment recipients from December 2019 to May 2020 . 9

Table 4: electorates with the largest percentage increase in JobSeeker Payment recipients from December 2019 to May 202010

Table 5: electorates with the largest increase in the number of Youth Allowance (Other) recipients from December 2019 to May 2020 ................................................................................................. 11

Table 6: electorates with the largest percentage increase in Youth Allowance (Other) recipients from December 2019 to May 2020 . 12

Table 7: electorates with the largest increase in the percentage of the population aged 15-64 in receipt of either JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (Other) from December 2019 to May 2020 ... 13

Table 8: electorates with the largest percentage of the population aged 15-64 in receipt of either JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (Other) in December 2019 and May 2020 .................... 14

Changes by electorate .................................................................. 14

Table 9: estimates of Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance, JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) recipients by Commonwealth Electoral Division, December 2019-May 2020 .... 15

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 3

Introduction In the period December 2019 to May 2020, the number of people in receipt of the main income support payments for the unemployed doubled—from around 820,000 to 1,640,000.1 The main reasons for the increase are the COVID-19 pandemic, the social distancing measures and restrictions on businesses and services put in place by Australian governments in response to the pandemic, the job losses that have resulted, and temporary changes to social security to allow more people access to income support.

This Statistical Snapshot examines the impact these measures have had on income support recipient numbers by Commonwealth Electoral Division (CED) (electorate). The estimates for electorates are based on administrative data on recipients by Statistical Area 2 published by the Department of Social Services (DSS). Recipient location data after December 2019 is currently only available for JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) so the analysis is limited to these payments.

This Statistical Snapshot provides summary information on the main income support payments for the unemployed, key changes to these payments made as part of the Australian Government’s response to COVID-19, and an analysis of which electorates have been most affected by changes in income support recipient numbers.

Notes on the data and methodology DSS has published data for all the main social security payments by electorate for December 2019.2 For March-May 2020, estimates for each electorate have been derived from the Statistical Area 2 (SA2) data published in each ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile’ report using population correspondences created by the Parliamentary Library (based on small area population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)).3 The SA2 to Commonwealth Electoral Division correspondence was prepared by the Parliamentary Library based on ABS mesh block data and ABS Estimated Resident Population (ERP) data by SA1 as at June 2019.

Where an SA2 crosses CED boundaries, the proportion of the June 2019 ERP in those electorates was used to apportion payment recipient numbers. Due to the conversion of SA2 to CED by ERP, the March, April and May figures are estimates by CED and should be considered indicative only. December 2019 figures are by CED at the source.

The data published by DSS does not disclose the exact number of recipients in an SA2 where it is less than five in order to protect the confidentiality of these recipients. The Parliamentary Library has used an average of the number of recipients in those SA2s with less than five recipients to estimate electorate number totals.

The source for Estimated Resident Population aged 15-64 is the ABS and is for June 2018 (latest available).4

1. Department of Social Services (DSS), ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 19 June 2020. All hyperlinks correct as at 14 July 2020. 2. DSS, ‘DSS Demographics December 2019’, data.gov.au website, last updated 21 April 2020. 3. DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, op. cit. 4. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Regional population by age and sex, Australia 2018, cat. no. 3235.0, ABS, Canberra,

29 August 2019.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 4

JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) are the main income support payments for those aged 16-65 who are able to work but who do not have the means to support themselves. Other payments may be made to working age people in certain circumstances including:

• Parenting Payment for those caring for young children

• Disability Support Pension for those unable to work due to a permanent physical, intellectual or

psychiatric condition and

• Carer Payment for those who provide constant care for someone with a severe disability or

illness, or for a frail aged adult.

JobSeeker Payment JobSeeker Payment is the new name for Newstart Allowance and commenced on 20 March 2020.5 Two other payments with a small number of recipients have been merged into JobSeeker Payment: Sickness Allowance and Bereavement Allowance.6

JobSeeker Payment is paid to those aged between 22 and Age Pension age. It is paid to those looking for work or who are sick or injured and temporarily unable to do their normal work or study. Some JobSeeker Payment recipients are exempt from job search requirements or may have different kinds of activity requirements. This includes people with an illness or a disability that limits their ability to work, those caring for dependent children, and those aged 55 or older. To be eligible, an individual must normally meet residency requirements and income and assets tests.7

The maximum payment rate for JobSeeker Payment—including the Energy Supplement paid to all recipients—is $574.50 per fortnight for a single person with no children or $518.70 per fortnight for a partnered person (other payment rates apply in certain circumstances and additional supplements may be payable).8 For the period 27 April 2020 to 24 September 2020, all JobSeeker Payment recipients also receive the Coronavirus Supplement worth $550 per fortnight.9

Youth Allowance (Other) Youth Allowance (Other)—that is, Youth Allowance for those other than full-time students or apprentices—is paid to those aged between 16 and 21 who are looking for full time work, studying part-time and looking for work, or temporarily unable to work.10 It includes similar job search and activity requirements as JobSeeker Payment. Eligibility is also dependent on a person meeting residency requirements and income and assets tests. Those not considered independent from their parents or carers also need to meet a parental means test.11

The maximum payment rate for Youth Allowance (Other)—including the Energy Supplement paid to all recipients—for a single person aged 18 or over who lives at their parent’s home is $309.20 per fortnight or $469.50 per fortnight for a partnered person with no children (other payment

5. Services Australia (SA), ‘JobSeeker Payment’, SA website, last updated 11 June 2020. 6. D Arthur, ‘JobSeeker Payment: a quick guide’, Research paper series, 2019-20, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 13 March 2020. 7. SA, ‘JobSeeker Payment’, op. cit. 8. SA, ‘JobSeeker Payment: How much you can get’, SA website, last updated 19 May 2020; SA, ‘Energy Supplement: How much

you can get: Payment rates on a pension or allowance’, SA website, last updated 29 May 2020. 9. SA, ‘Coronavirus Supplement: How much you can get’, SA website, last updated 1 June 2020. 10. SA, ‘Youth Allowance for jobseekers’, SA website, last updated 21 April 2020. 11. SA, ‘Youth Allowance for students and apprentices: How much you can get: Income test’, SA website, last updated 24 June

2020.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 5

rates apply in certain circumstances and additional supplements may be payable).12 For the period 27 April 2020 to 24 September 2020, all Youth Allowance recipients will receive the Coronavirus Supplement worth $550 per fortnight.13

Changes in response to COVID-19 The Government has made a number of temporary changes to JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) in response to COVID-19 which increase the number of people eligible for these payments and which will have had an impact on the number of recipients. Changes include:

• expanding eligibility to provide access to sole traders and other self-employed people;

permanent employees who have been stood down or who lost their job; and, people who are caring for someone affected by COVID-19

• waiving the assets test

• waiving the ordinary waiting period, liquid assets waiting period, newly arrived residents

waiting period and the seasonal workers preclusion period and

• making the partner income test more generous by lowering the amount payment rates are

reduced by as a result of partner income.14

Most of these changes apply from 25 March 2020 until at least 24 September 2020.15

In addition, some temporary changes have been made to make the claims process easier including no longer requiring Employment Separation Certificates, proof of rental arrangements or the verification of a person’s relationship status. These changes also apply for the period 25 March to 24 September 2020.16

As noted above, for the period 27 April 2020 to 24 September 2020, all JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients will receive the Coronavirus Supplement worth $550 per fortnight. This amount is not included in the income-tested rate component so the supplement does not expand eligibility. That is, the supplement does not increase the income-test cut-off point. If an individual is eligible for even one dollar of the standard JobSeeeker Payment rate under the income test, they will receive the full amount of the Coronavirus Supplement. The Coronavirus Supplement is also being paid to a number of other payments including Parenting Payment, student payments, Special Benefit and the Farm Household Allowance.17

Impact of COVID-19 on recipient numbers As at 27 December 2019, there were 733,704 recipients of Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Bereavement Allowance. As at 22 May 2020, there were 1,472,678 recipients of JobSeeker Payment, the payment that replaced these payments (and the small number of those still to transition to the new payment). This represents an increase of 738,974 or 100.7 per cent. On 27 December 2019, there were 85,316 Youth Allowance (Other) recipients and on 22 May

12. SA, ‘Youth Allowance for jobseekers: How much you can get’, SA website, last updated 29 May 2020; SA, ‘Energy Supplement: How much you can get: Payment rates on Youth Allowance’, SA website, last updated 29 May 2020. 13. SA, ‘Coronavirus Supplement: How much you can get’, op. cit. 14. DSS, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and support’, DSS website, last updated 1 June 2020. 15. The waiver of the ordinary waiting period commenced 12 March 2020 via the Social Security (Ordinary Waiting Period

Exemption) Instrument 2020 and was extended until at least 24 September 2020 by the Social Security (Coronavirus Economic Response—2020 Measures No. 7) Determination 2020. DSS, ‘Government response to Coronavirus’, Social security guide, DSS website, last reviewed 2 June 2020. 16. Ibid. 17. SA, ‘Coronavirus Supplement: Who can get it’, SA website, last updated 1 June 2020.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 6

there were 168,095 (an increase of 82,779 or 97.0 per cent). Combined, the total number of recipients of these payments increased from around 820,000 to around 1,640,000.

Table 1 sets out the number of recipients of the main working-age income support payments at selected points from 27 December 2019 to 22 May 2020.

The source for this data is an Answer to a Question on Notice from the Senate COVID-19 Committee—the total recipient numbers for May are different from the other totals given in this Statistical Snapshot as the point in time is one week earlier than the data provided in the DSS monthly reports. This source is used as it provides information on all the main income support payment categories.

Table 1: selected income support payment recipients, December 2019-May 2020 Payment 27/12/2019 28/02/2020 27/03/2020 24/04/2020 22/05/2020

Austudy 27 634 29 748 33 000 35 205 38 807

Carer Payment 284 252 286 773 290 126 292 766 294 163

Disability Support Pension

751 773 752 047 752 191 753 336 754 263

JobSeeker Payment n/a 792 814 1 221 419 1 471 534

Newstart Allowance 728 405 724 628

Parenting Payment Partnered

68 087 67 971 67 552 70 494 86 249

Parenting Payment Single

228 606 228 794 230 702 233 618 240 662

Youth Allowance (other)

85 316 85 736 93 399 121 617 168 095

Youth Allowance (student and apprentice)

134 456 157 145 168 997 184 301 207 562

Combined Newstart Allowance* 733 704 730 136

Combined JobSeeker Payment*

797 941 1 224 555 1 472 678

*Recipients of Combined Newstart Allowance and Combined JobSeeker Payment include recipients of Bereavement Allowance and Sickness Allowance as these payments have been subsumed into JobSeeker Payment. A small number of Sickness Allowance and Bereavement Allowance recipients were still to transfer to JobSeeker Payment during the period March-May. December 2019 is Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance only as data on Bereavement Allowance not available.

Note: data is for recipients who are entitled to be paid at the point in time. Newstart Allowance and JobSeeker Payment numbers exclude those who have a zero-rate of payment. Sources: Department of Social Services (DSS), ‘DSS Demographics December 2019’, data.gov.au website, last updated 21 April 2020; DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 19 June 2020; Senate Select Committee on COVID-19, Answers to written questions on notice by the Department of Social Services, Question reference number SQ20-000453.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 7

Job losses and reduced working hours resulting from government measures to limit the spread of the virus have, undoubtedly, been the main driver of the increase in income support recipients. However, a number of other factors will have affected the growth in recipient numbers since December 2019:

• policy changes to expand eligibility for payments in response to COVID-19

• the economic impact of the 2019-20 bushfires in many parts of Australia and

• the introduction of the JobKeeper Payment (a wage subsidy).

The introduction of the JobKeeper Payment will have reduced the number of people claiming social security payments by providing income to eligible individuals who have been stood down or who have had their working hours reduced, as well as subsidising the wages of businesses facing a downturn in revenue.

The JobKeeper Payment was announced on 30 March 2020 and provides $1,500 per fortnight to eligible employees paid through their employer.18 The JobKeeper Payment is considered income for the purposes of the social security income test. This means that most people would be ineligible to receive both JobKeeper Payment and a social security payment at the same time.19 However, some groups, including single parents, those aged 60 or over and some pensioners may be eligible to receive JobKeeper Payment and a part-rate social security payment.20 This will depend on their specific circumstances such as whether they have any other sources of income.

Impact by state and territory There have been significant differences in terms of the growth in recipient numbers in different states and territories. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have seen the largest increases in the total number of recipients and high percentage increases from December 2019 to May 2020. While the Australian Capital Territory has had the largest percentage increase in recipient numbers this comes off a very low base in December 2019. Table 2 sets out the change in recipient numbers for Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other) in December 2019 and for JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) from March 2020.

18. S Morrison (Prime Minister) and J Frydenberg (Treasurer), $130 billion jobkeeper payment to keep Australians in a job, media release, 30 March 2020. 19. SA, ‘JobSeeker Payment: Getting JobKeeper payment’, SA website, last updated 11 May 2020. 20. See details of the income limits for various payments in SA, A guide to Australian Government payments: 1 July-19 September

2020, SA, 2020, pp. 37-41.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 8

Table 2: Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance, JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) recipients by state or territory, December 2019-May 2020 State or territory

December 2019 March 2020 April 2020 May 2020 Difference Dec-19 to

May 2020

% change Dec 19 to May 202

NSW 225 900 245 422 385 307 476 784 +250 884 +111%

Vic. 179 049 193 586 312 895 389 229 +210 180 +117%

Qld. 191 903 210 249 317 217 379 687 +187 784 +98%

SA 73 738 78 421 108 145 126 375 +52 637 +71%

WA 98 318 105 493 148 956 181 348 +83 030 +84%

Tas. 24 561 25 803 34 322 39 857 +15 296 +62%

NT 18 656 19 931 23 744 26 369 +7 713 +41%

ACT 6 600 7 135 11 940 14 858 +8 258 +125%

Total 818 893 886 213 1 343 036 1 635 286 +816 393 +100%

Notes: December 2019 is the total number of recipients of Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other). March, April and May 2020 is the total number of recipients of JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other). Sources: DSS, ‘DSS Demographics December 2019’, data.gov.au website, last updated 21 April 2020; DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: March 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 15 May 2020; DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 19 June 2020.

Impact by electorate The impact of COVID-19 (and the other factors described above) on JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) recipient numbers has varied significantly between electorates. There are different ways of assessing the impact: increases in the total number of recipients, percentage increases and changes in the percentage of the working-age population receiving payments. This section assesses the impact on different electorates using each of these methods.

In terms of increases in the total number of JobSeeker Payment recipients, Coalition-held electorates in south-east Queensland and Labor-held electorates in western Sydney and Melbourne’s west have seen very large increases in recipient numbers, alongside Richmond in the

north-east corner of New South Wales, Leichardt in far north Queensland and the Greens-held inner-city electorate of Melbourne. Table 3 sets out the ten electorates which saw the largest increase in recipient numbers of Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance in December 2019, to JobSeeker Payment in May 2020.

The lowest increases in total numbers were in the ACT and Tasmanian electorates; the NSW electorates of Parkes, Berowra and Riverina; and Capricornia in Queensland.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 9

Table 3: electorates with the largest increase in the number of JobSeeker Payment recipients from December 2019 to May 2020 Electorate State Party Newstart

and Sickness Allowance- December 2019

JobSeeker Payment- May 2020

Difference Dec19 to May 2020

% change - Dec 19 to May 20

Moncrieff Qld. LNP 5 951 15 037 +9 086 +153%

Blaxland NSW ALP 6 446 14 581 +8 135 +126%

Calwell Vic. ALP 8 422 16 534 +8 112 +96%

Fadden Qld. LNP 5 640 13 618 +7 978 +141%

Watson NSW ALP 4 955 12 795 +7 840 +158%

Lalor Vic. ALP 5 468 13 300 +7 832 +143%

Richmond NSW ALP 6 410 14 155 +7 745 +121%

McPherson Qld. LNP 3 977 11 598 +7 621 +192%

Leichhardt Qld. LNP 9 755 17 372 +7 617 +78%

Melbourne Vic. GRN 4 473 11 939 +7 466 +167%

Sources: Parliamentary Library estimates based on DSS, ‘DSS Demographics December 2019’, data.gov.au website, last updated 21 April 2020; DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 19 June 2020.

In terms of percentage increases, the electorates that have experienced the biggest change in JobSeeker Payment numbers are primarily Coalition-held electorates in Sydney’s east and north, and Melbourne’s inner-east (the exception is Warringah held by Independent MP Zali Steggall). These electorates are relatively wealthy and had few payment recipients prior to COVID-19. Hence, the large percentage increases are from a much lower base than other electorates. These electorates should not be considered the most affected by COVID-19—the actual increase in recipient numbers is much less than other electorates. The percentage increases do show that even prosperous areas have been affected.

Table 4 sets out the ten electorates which saw the largest percentage increase in recipient numbers of Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance in December 2019, to JobSeeker Payment in May 2020.

The lowest percentage increases were primarily in electorates which already had a relatively high number of income support recipients including Lingiari in the Northern Territory, Grey and Spence in South Australia, and Durack in Western Australia. The New South Wales electorates of Parkes and New England, and the Tasmanian electorate of Braddon also saw below-50% increases in JobSeeker Payment recipients between December 2019 and May 2020.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 10

Table 4: electorates with the largest percentage increase in JobSeeker Payment recipients from December 2019 to May 2020 Electorate State Party Newstart

and Sickness Allowance- December 2019

JobSeeker Payment- May 2020

Difference Dec 19 to May 20 % change - Dec 19 to

May 20

Wentworth NSW LP 1 090 5 688 +4 598 +422%

Warringah NSW IND 1 031 4 814 +3 783 +367%

Bradfield NSW LP 977 4 331 +3 354 +343%

North Sydney NSW LP 1 080 4 785 +3 705 +343%

Mackellar NSW LP 1 256 5 093 +3 837 +306%

Kooyong Vic. LP 1 212 4 842 +3 630 +300%

Mitchell NSW LP 1 328 5 160 +3 832 +289%

Reid NSW LP 2 217 8 071 +5 854 +264%

Higgins Vic. LP 1 766 6 360 +4 594 +260%

Berowra NSW LP 1 137 4 088 +2 951 +260%

Sources: Parliamentary Library estimates based on DSS, ‘DSS Demographics December 2019’, data.gov.au website, last updated 21 April 2020; DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 19 June 2020.

The largest increases in the total number of Youth Allowance (Other) recipients occurred in similar areas to JobSeeker Payment: south-east Queensland, the north-east New South Wales seat of Richmond, and Reid in western Sydney. Table 5 sets out the ten electorates which saw the largest increase in Youth Allowance (Other) recipient numbers from December 2019 to May 2020.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 11

Table 5: electorates with the largest increase in the number of Youth Allowance (Other) recipients from December 2019 to May 2020 Electorate State Party December

2019

May 2020 Difference Dec 19 to May 20 % change - Dec 19 to

May 20

Fadden Qld. LNP 660 1 824 +1 164 +176%

Leichhardt Qld. LNP 1 194 2 280 +1 086 +91%

Forde Qld. LNP 1 032 2 099 +1 067 +103%

Moncrieff Qld. LNP 571 1 623 +1 052 +184%

Richmond NSW ALP 614 1 655 +1 041 +169%

McPherson Qld. LNP 389 1 403 +1 014 +261%

Longman Qld. LNP 1 175 2 169 +994 +85%

Fisher Qld. LNP 636 1 604 +968 +152%

Chifley NSW ALP 749 1 713 +964 +129%

Blair Qld. ALP 1 380 2 326 +946 +69%

Sources: Parliamentary Library estimates based on DSS, ‘DSS Demographics December 2019’, data.gov.au website, last updated 21 April 2020; DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 19 June 2020.

In terms of percentage increases, the electorates which have seen the biggest change are also primarily Coalition-held seats in Sydney’s east and north; the Independent-held seat of Warringah; and Menzies in Melbourne’s outer-east. These electorates all had relatively few Youth Allowance (Other) recipients in December 2019. The increase in the total number of recipients in these electorates is much smaller than in other electorates and these seats should not be considered the most affected by COVID-19.

Table 6 sets out the ten electorates which have had the largest percentage increase in Youth Allowance (Other) recipients from December 2019 to May 2020.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 12

Table 6: electorates with the largest percentage increase in Youth Allowance (Other) recipients from December 2019 to May 2020 Electorate State Party December

2019

May 2020 Difference Dec 19 to May 20 % change - Dec 19 to

May 20

Mackellar NSW. LP 64 405 +341 +533%

Wentworth NSW LP 39 223 +184 +473%

North Sydney NSW LP 35 171 +136 +389%

Warringah NSW IND 62 290 +228 +367%

Cook NSW LP 102 445 +343 +337%

Berowra NSW LP 71 299 +228 +322%

Bradfield NSW LP 47 198 +151 +320%

Hughes NSW LP 124 479 +355 +286%

Menzies Vic. LP 99 380 +281 +283%

Mitchell NSW LP 98 375 +277 +283%

Sources: Parliamentary Library estimates based on DSS, ‘DSS Demographics December 2019’, data.gov.au website, last updated 21 April 2020; DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 19 June 2020.

Another way of considering the impact of COVID-19 by electorate is examining the number of payment recipients as a proportion of the working-age population. This analysis uses ABS data from June 2018 on the estimated resident population in each electorate aged 15-64. This does not provide an exact measure but provides an indication of the percentage of the eligible population group in an electorate receiving payments and how this has changed as a result of COVID-19.

Table 7 sets out the electorates with the biggest change in the estimated percentage of the population in receipt of Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance + Youth Allowance (Other) in December 2019 and in receipt of JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) in May 2020.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 13

Table 7: electorates with the largest increase in the percentage of the population aged 15- 64 in receipt of either JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (Other) from December 2019 to May 2020

Electorate State Party Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance + Youth Allowance (Other) Dec 2019 as % of pop. 15-64

JobSeeker Payment + Youth Allowance (Other) May 2020 as % of pop. 15-64

Percentage point difference December 2019 to May 2020

Moncrieff Qld. LNP 5.1% 13.0% +7.9

Richmond NSW ALP 6.2% 13.9% +7.7

McPherson Qld. LNP 3.8% 11.4% +7.6

Calwell Vic. ALP 7.1% 14.1% +6.9

Leichhardt Qld. LNP 8.2% 14.8% +6.5

Wide Bay Qld. LNP 8.2% 14.5% +6.3

Fadden Qld. LNP 4.3% 10.5% +6.2

Hinkler Qld. LNP 10.4% 16.6% +6.2

Lalor Vic. ALP 4.3% 10.5% +6.1

Fairfax Qld. LNP 4.5% 10.6% +6.1

Sources: Parliamentary Library estimates based on DSS, ‘DSS Demographics December 2019’, data.gov.au website, last updated 21 April 2020; DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 19 June 2020. Source for ERP ages 15-64 is Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Regional population by age and sex, Australia 2018, cat. no. 3235.0, ABS, Canberra, 29 August 2019.

Lingiari and Hinkler remained the electorates with the largest proportion of the working-age population in receipt of these income support payments in December 2019 and May 2020. A number of electorates experienced significant increases in the proportion of people receiving income support during this period to place them amongst the ten electorates with the highest percentage of the working-age population reliant on JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (Other). These include Calwell, Moncrieff and Richmond.

Table 8 sets out those electorates estimated to have the largest percentage of the population aged 15-64 in receipt of JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (Other) in December 2019 and in May 2020.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 14

Table 8: electorates with the largest percentage of the population aged 15-64 in receipt of either JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (Other) in December 2019 and May 2020 December 2019 May 2020

Electorate State Party % Electorate State Party %

Lingiari NT ALP 15.0% Lingiari NT ALP 19.4%

Hinkler Qld. LNP 10.4% Hinkler Qld. LNP 16.6%

Spence SA ALP 10.0% Leichhardt Qld. LNP 14.8%

Grey SA LP 9.3% Spence SA ALP 14.7%

Durack WA LP 8.6% Wide Bay Qld. LNP 14.5%

Page NSW NATS 8.6% Page NSW NATS 14.1%

Leichhardt Qld. LNP 8.2% Calwell Vic. ALP 14.1%

Wide Bay Qld. LNP 8.2% Richmond NSW ALP 13.9%

Braddon Tas. LP 8.1% Grey SA LP 13.2%

Parkes NSW NATS 7.8% Moncrieff Qld. LNP 13.0%

Sources: Parliamentary Library estimates based on DSS, ‘DSS Demographics December 2019’, data.gov.au website, last updated 21 April 2020; DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 19 June 2020. Source for ERP ages 15-64 is Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Regional population by age and sex, Australia 2018, cat. no. 3235.0, ABS, Canberra, 29 August 2019.

Changes by electorate Table 9 sets out the number of recipients of these payments in each electorate on the last Friday in December 2019, March 2020, April 2020 and May 2020. Geographical data for January and February 2020 has not been published.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 15

Table 9: estimates of Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance, JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) recipients by Commonwealth Electoral Division, December 2019-May 2020 State or territory

Division Newstart

Allowance + Sickness Allowance

JobSeeker Payment Youth Allowance (Other)

Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20

NSW Banks 2 983 3 142 6 088 7 889 173 175 303 541

NSW Barton 2 987 3 368 7 239 9 680 161 169 313 594

NSW Bennelong 2 135 2 296 5 105 7 144 128 107 195 365

NSW Berowra 1 137 1 263 2 777 4 088 71 75 127 299

NSW Blaxland 6 446 7 009 11 677 14 581 363 409 669 1 160

NSW Bradfield 977 1 143 2 936 4 331 47 46 95 198

NSW Calare 5 303 5 648 7 611 8 488 807 907 1 098 1 403

NSW Chifley 6 884 7 275 10 528 12 778 749 858 1 144 1 713

NSW Cook 1 586 1 871 4 228 5 568 102 105 216 445

NSW Cowper 7 765 8 417 11 613 12 970 1 109 1 262 1 565 2 025

NSW Cunningham 4 595 4 958 7 595 8 695 582 617 824 1 117

NSW Dobell 5 585 6 154 9 183 10 604 810 888 1 157 1 565

NSW Eden-Monaro 3 627 4 001 6 049 7 143 407 463 599 892

NSW Farrer 5 785 6 045 8 135 9 266 754 806 1 028 1 381

NSW Fowler 9 121 9 708 13 542 15 971 498 537 793 1 212

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 16

State or territory

Division Newstart

Allowance + Sickness Allowance

JobSeeker Payment Youth Allowance (Other)

Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20

NSW Gilmore 5 469 5 858 8 504 9 812 683 782 981 1 341

NSW Grayndler 2 728 2 912 6 276 7 864 137 149 253 465

NSW Greenway 3 444 3 948 6 750 8 852 347 381 536 877

NSW Hughes 1 434 1 625 3 384 4 586 124 137 239 479

NSW Hume 3 029 3 238 5 233 6 544 302 344 515 862

NSW Hunter 5 516 5 839 8 338 9 537 834 917 1 142 1 497

NSW Kingsford Smith 2 461 2 640 5 640 7 465 155 143 255 501

NSW Lindsay 4 899 5 450 8 431 10 176 631 753 1 025 1 472

NSW Lyne 6 353 6 734 8 987 10 204 823 946 1 159 1 464

NSW Macarthur 5 206 5 688 9 166 11 523 652 701 1 008 1 503

NSW Mackellar 1 256 1 352 3 520 5 093 64 74 154 405

NSW Macquarie 3 011 3 258 5 415 6 632 322 354 539 801

NSW McMahon 7 646 8 334 11 642 13 833 541 570 801 1 250

NSW Mitchell 1 328 1 536 3 619 5 160 98 104 184 375

NSW New England 6 559 7 024 8 839 9 764 1 124 1 232 1 440 1 744

NSW Newcastle 5 272 5 647 8 729 9 643 740 815 1 030 1 343

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 17

State or territory

Division Newstart

Allowance + Sickness Allowance

JobSeeker Payment Youth Allowance (Other)

Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20

NSW North Sydney 1 080 1 214 3 215 4 785 35 40 69 171

NSW Page 7 853 8 404 11 223 12 760 1 106 1 238 1 501 1 945

NSW Parkes 7 480 7 826 9 571 10 361 1 258 1 420 1 603 1 925

NSW Parramatta 4 652 5 107 8 719 11 229 282 289 460 730

NSW Paterson 5 749 6 370 9 178 10 438 941 1 086 1 366 1 801

NSW Reid 2 217 2 491 5 778 8 071 105 89 195 381

NSW Richmond 6 410 6 907 12 114 14 155 614 705 1 066 1 655

NSW Riverina 5 349 5 708 7 420 8 350 797 885 1 066 1 375

NSW Robertson 4 090 4 457 7 233 8 701 471 528 706 1 087

NSW Shortland 4 202 4 607 6 822 7 908 633 683 898 1 261

NSW Sydney 3 916 4 248 8 701 10 934 176 198 277 443

NSW Warringah 1 031 1 234 3 257 4 814 62 65 115 290

NSW Watson 4 955 5 413 10 088 12 795 280 291 523 899

NSW Wentworth 1 090 1 354 4 025 5 688 39 55 94 223

NSW Werriwa 6 464 7 183 10 701 13 229 472 550 807 1 319

NSW Whitlam 4 547 4 812 7 309 8 441 656 753 998 1 372

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 18

State or territory

Division Newstart

Allowance + Sickness Allowance

JobSeeker Payment Youth Allowance (Other)

Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20

Vic Aston 3 090 3 317 5 939 7 651 247 279 410 692

Vic Ballarat 5 405 5 811 8 431 9 490 736 819 1 037 1 329

Vic Bendigo 5 130 5 462 7 714 9 025 653 686 905 1 254

Vic Bruce 6 936 7 271 11 120 13 923 562 578 792 1 208

Vic Calwell 8 422 9 095 13 682 16 534 801 842 1 121 1 671

Vic Casey 3 258 3 499 5 897 7 440 324 317 489 847

Vic Chisholm 2 348 2 608 5 159 6 892 199 189 269 405

Vic Cooper 4 368 4 801 9 033 10 669 295 337 449 664

Vic Corangamite 2 900 3 135 5 906 7 200 295 292 482 823

Vic Corio 5 624 5 921 8 696 9 870 674 736 961 1 281

Vic Deakin 3 045 3 345 5 773 7 155 257 241 369 591

Vic Dunkley 4 675 4 978 7 851 9 607 453 486 703 1 061

Vic Flinders 3 505 3 762 6 383 7 752 291 315 490 853

Vic Fraser 7 896 8 404 12 415 14 919 480 485 664 1 018

Vic Gellibrand 4 281 4 461 7 742 9 721 298 293 425 658

Vic Gippsland 6 787 7 233 9 249 10 646 808 875 1 044 1 345

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 19

State or territory

Division Newstart

Allowance + Sickness Allowance

JobSeeker Payment Youth Allowance (Other)

Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20

Vic Goldstein 1 603 1 747 3 763 5 108 82 82 163 307

Vic Gorton 6 127 6 717 10 466 12 970 642 687 926 1 365

Vic Higgins 1 766 2 040 4 968 6 360 99 94 164 318

Vic Holt 4 800 5 317 9 031 11 708 578 651 857 1 380

Vic Hotham 2 915 3 262 6 161 7 961 183 201 300 505

Vic Indi 4 594 4 877 6 866 8 184 524 573 728 1 030

Vic Isaacs 2 940 3 339 5 926 7 558 196 229 342 575

Vic Jagajaga 2 654 2 863 5 189 6 448 171 196 279 458

Vic Kooyong 1 212 1 370 3 597 4 842 72 72 123 250

Vic La Trobe 3 578 3 979 6 941 8 927 389 459 651 1 076

Vic Lalor 5 468 6 017 10 255 13 300 581 614 851 1 270

Vic Macnamara 3 052 3 425 7 446 9 428 136 139 231 421

Vic Mallee 6 426 6 694 8 589 9 752 757 828 1 005 1 341

Vic Maribyrnong 3 664 4 360 7 897 9 500 237 269 415 653

Vic McEwen 3 039 3 405 5 994 7 708 327 364 518 849

Vic Melbourne 4 473 4 935 10 056 11 939 264 243 394 572

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 20

State or territory

Division Newstart

Allowance + Sickness Allowance

JobSeeker Payment Youth Allowance (Other)

Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20

Vic Menzies 1 879 2 093 4 480 6 054 99 99 197 380

Vic Monash 5 299 5 575 7 829 9 219 473 518 702 1 018

Vic Nicholls 6 172 6 488 8 469 9 571 698 754 940 1 282

Vic Scullin 5 064 5 460 8 893 11 096 440 461 659 1 027

Vic Wannon 5 411 5 747 7 660 8 649 640 696 883 1 151

Vic Wills 3 974 4 467 9 019 10 755 287 298 468 757

Qld Blair 7 400 8 158 11 036 12 877 1 380 1 493 1 825 2 326

Qld Bonner 3 192 3 427 5 828 7 286 405 409 577 870

Qld Bowman 3 963 4 322 6 861 8 426 478 513 697 1 082

Qld Brisbane 3 854 4 202 8 420 9 970 348 351 576 853

Qld Capricornia 5 335 5 677 7 378 8 332 786 856 1 059 1 403

Qld Dawson 5 245 5 783 8 720 10 022 679 774 994 1 403

Qld Dickson 3 553 3 852 6 335 7 782 598 668 849 1 233

Qld Fadden 5 640 6 181 11 462 13 618 660 813 1 186 1 824

Qld Fairfax 4 835 5 333 9 507 11 262 634 741 1 105 1 578

Qld Fisher 4 607 4 999 8 816 10 626 636 742 1 093 1 604

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 21

State or territory

Division Newstart

Allowance + Sickness Allowance

JobSeeker Payment Youth Allowance (Other)

Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20

Qld Flynn 7 034 7 631 9 676 10 846 976 1 128 1 334 1 666

Qld Forde 6 405 7 025 10 918 13 305 1 032 1 155 1 489 2 099

Qld Griffith 3 598 4 084 7 712 9 403 374 419 628 928

Qld Groom 5 191 5 611 7 640 8 670 1 016 1 082 1 315 1 704

Qld Herbert 7 211 7 746 10 671 11 997 1 173 1 272 1 549 2 047

Qld Hinkler 7 707 8 294 10 988 12 171 1 158 1 296 1 567 1 954

Qld Kennedy 8 733 9 428 12 120 13 611 1 148 1 325 1 550 1 969

Qld Leichhardt 9 755 10 558 15 971 17 372 1 194 1 413 1 739 2 280

Qld Lilley 3 971 4 384 7 490 8 951 477 518 708 1 002

Qld Longman 7 034 7 708 10 959 12 850 1 175 1 313 1 644 2 169

Qld Maranoa 5 755 6 141 7 680 8 851 881 1 002 1 193 1 506

Qld McPherson 3 977 4 487 9 409 11 598 389 492 859 1 403

Qld Moncrieff 5 951 6 484 12 752 15 037 571 664 1 015 1 623

Qld Moreton 4 327 4 827 8 029 9 814 507 557 705 1 012

Qld Oxley 6 250 7 000 10 351 12 514 924 1 066 1 332 1 792

Qld Petrie 5 656 6 139 9 484 11 408 888 997 1 328 1 790

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 22

State or territory

Division Newstart

Allowance + Sickness Allowance

JobSeeker Payment Youth Allowance (Other)

Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20

Qld Rankin 7 787 8 693 12 568 14 859 1 301 1 373 1 726 2 237

Qld Ryan 2 104 2 332 4 469 5 799 295 274 412 641

Qld Wide Bay 6 951 7 285 10 718 12 324 1 006 1 054 1 342 1 795

Qld Wright 5 086 5 852 8 714 10 722 667 824 1 095 1 559

SA Adelaide 6 455 6 943 10 701 12 370 539 557 722 998

SA Barker 6 936 7 340 9 378 10 725 766 855 1 019 1 365

SA Boothby 4 390 4 719 7 466 8 671 423 421 583 809

SA Grey 9 656 10 129 12 328 13 532 1 152 1 266 1 452 1 746

SA Hindmarsh 6 109 6 494 9 687 11 244 574 607 786 1 084

SA Kingston 6 695 7 039 10 009 11 520 853 935 1 147 1 559

SA Makin 5 729 6 255 8 965 10 588 630 697 906 1 237

SA Mayo 4 609 4 990 7 478 8 899 474 518 686 1 063

SA Spence 12 144 12 800 15 809 17 756 1 602 1 651 1 915 2 349

SA Sturt 3 684 3 899 6 700 8 212 319 310 413 648

WA Brand 7 013 7 506 10 489 12 592 953 1 005 1 210 1 681

WA Burt 7 527 8 016 10 899 13 039 1 084 1 143 1 301 1 687

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 23

State or territory

Division Newstart

Allowance + Sickness Allowance

JobSeeker Payment Youth Allowance (Other)

Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20

WA Canning 5 955 6 474 8 788 10 505 767 842 1 051 1 401

WA Cowan 5 524 5 796 8 505 10 283 644 652 839 1 202

WA Curtin 2 042 2 243 4 215 5 349 157 158 233 378

WA Durack 9 751 10 401 12 655 14 310 1 323 1 507 1 678 2 143

WA Forrest 5 599 5 920 8 646 10 332 719 774 972 1 384

WA Fremantle 5 085 5 442 8 292 10 082 548 607 752 1 056

WA Hasluck 5 380 5 806 7 986 9 521 679 708 872 1 165

WA Moore 2 662 2 856 4 971 6 434 264 296 434 725

WA O'Connor 6 474 6 826 8 543 9 880 684 727 885 1 222

WA Pearce 6 290 6 898 10 131 12 538 906 1 005 1 260 1 792

WA Perth 5 072 5 521 8 744 10 388 426 423 556 807

WA Stirling 5 471 5 728 8 653 10 219 518 506 656 877

WA Swan 5 635 6 155 9 221 10 971 663 691 870 1 199

WA Tangney 2 247 2 579 4 274 5 638 205 242 316 481

Tas Bass 5 271 5 519 7 079 7 957 815 821 979 1 204

Tas Braddon 4 767 4 967 6 208 7 090 744 780 880 1 069

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 24

State or territory

Division Newstart

Allowance + Sickness Allowance

JobSeeker Payment Youth Allowance (Other)

Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Dec-19 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20

Tas Clark 3 719 3 947 5 816 6 543 575 611 759 928

Tas Franklin 2 970 3 185 4 618 5 514 491 526 663 887

Tas Lyons 4 559 4 776 6 493 7 624 649 674 824 1 036

NT Lingiari 12 619 13 144 14 820 15 967 1 666 1 986 2 178 2 469

NT Solomon 3 872 4 262 6 071 7 050 526 571 722 944

ACT Bean 2 023 2 145 3 498 4 298 241 267 363 571

ACT Canberra 1 814 1 937 3 351 4 053 185 182 267 404

ACT Fenner 2 079 2 332 4 086 4 988 258 282 417 606

Sources: Parliamentary Library estimates based on: DSS, ‘DSS Demographics December 2019’, data.gov.au website, last updated 21 April 2020; DSS, ‘JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients monthly profile: May 2020’, data.gov.au website, last updated 19 June 2020.

Original data by ABS Statistical Area 2 (SA2) For March, April and May 2020 was converted to Commonwealth Electoral Division (CED) by summing SA2s into electorates based on ABS small area population data (correspondence data). The SA2 to CED correspondence was prepared by Parliamentary Library based on ABS mesh block data and ABS Estimated Resident Population (ERP) by SA1 as at June 2019. Where an SA2 crosses CED boundaries, the proportion of the June 2019 ERP in those electorates was used to apportion payment recipient numbers.

Due to the conversion of SA2 to CED by ERP, the March, April and May figures are estimates by CED and should be considered indicative only. December 2019 figures are by CED at the source.

The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate 25

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