JobKeeper and JobSeeker cuts will be "devastating" for Aussies

1.7m Aussies could be jobless next year


More than 1.7 million Australians could be unemployed in 2021 once the government's COVID-19 financial assistance ends, according to frightening new modelling.

The report, from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) says total unemployment could peak at 15.1 per cent next year under the most severe of three scenarios modelled.

Even the mildest indicates more than one million, or 8.7 per cent, would be left jobless.

As of October, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates 960,900, or 7 per cent, are unemployed.

The modelling, undertaken by researchers from the University of Adelaide and Curtin University, found at least 103,500 households went into "housing affordability stress" as a result of the pandemic.

Researchers further suggest when JobKeeper is phased out in March 2021, an additional 124,000 households could be tipped into trouble, with 73 per cent of these being private renters.

Lead author, professor Chris Leishman said without JobKeeper, Jobseeker and other coronavirus supplements, the number of Australian households struggling to keep themselves afloat would have nearly doubled.


"Australian households in housing affordability stress would have gone from 757,000 at the baseline to more than 1.36 million, even after Commonwealth Rent Assistance has been taken into account," professor Leishman said.

"The policy concern is that if these highly successful government interventions are withdrawn prematurely, almost a third of those saved from suffering housing affordability stress would now experience it.

"Without an extension of the JobKeeper income support measures beyond March 2021, the number of households living in HAS is likely to increase significantly, to at least 793,000 and could reach as high as 893,000."

A hypothetical phase four of JobKeeper which extended support through a reduced $650 per fortnight payment could be "more than sufficient" to reduce the number of households in HAS below the baseline, researchers found.

"Our research shows the number of households living in precarious employment and housing affordability situation is already very high," Professor Leishman said.

"Serious consideration should be given to the development of further support measures that would benefit these households."

Originally published as 1.7m Aussies could be jobless next year