Centrelink. (AAP Image/James Ross)
Centrelink. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Thousands fewer on Centrelink as JobKeeper deadline looms

There are thousands fewer Toowoomba residents on some sort of Centrelink program now than there were eight months ago, according to new data.

The Department of Social Services has released its latest statistics on welfare recipients across the region, which showed more than 2000 claims from residents dropped off Centrelink between June and December.

It comes just a month out from the end of the highly-praised JobKeeper program, which will be discontinued on March 28.

Wealth gap: Australia's billionaires only got richer during COVID: Australian billionaires' collective wealth increased by over 50% during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic while unemployment numbers broke records.
Wealth gap: Australia's billionaires only got richer during COVID: Australian billionaires' collective wealth increased by over 50% during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic while unemployment numbers broke records.

The biggest drops in recipients came from the Health Care Card program (-1947), JobSeeker (-660) and Rent Assistance (-261).

The numbers are still way up from the figures from March, which were recorded just before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

From that point, more than 10,000 extra people joined Centrelink on a variety of programs, depending on their financial situations.

There have been continued increases in recipients for both parts of the Family Tax Benefit.

Centrelink claims, Toowoomba region (people can claim for multiple programs)

March: 126,858

June: 137,823

September: 138,045

December: 135,746

Originally published as Thousands fewer on Centrelink as JobKeeper deadline looms