No Plan to Lift JobSeeker Payment Rate: Social Services Minister

By AAP
June 27, 2020 Updated: June 27, 2020

The Morrison government has denied it about to permanently lift the dole payment when the Treasurer makes a long awaited economic statement next month.

News Corp newspapers, citing senior ministers, had reported the JobSeeker payment would rise to $75 per day from $40 when the present enhanced version of the unemployment payment ends in September.

“There are no such proposals before the government or under consideration for the economic statement next month,” a spokesperson for Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told AAP.

“The government is focused on the next phase of short-term measures designed to address the COVID-19 crisis.”

The JobSeeker payment, formerly known as Newstart, was doubled to around $1100 a fortnight as a support measure during the pandemic.

Treasury has been reviewing both JobSeeker and the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

Senior Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said people who had been forced on to the dole because of the coronavirus pandemic were in for a shock if the JobSeeker payment returned to its pre-crisis rate of $40 per a day.

“It is an inadequate payment, it doesn’t allow people to live with dignity,” she told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program

“We now have hundreds of thousands of extra people joining the dole queue, people who have been working full time until very recently that would very much struggle if what’s now called JobSeeker went back to the old Newstart rate.”

The coalition government has long argued against raising the unemployment payment, which hasn’t been increased for 25 years apart from indexation increases.

There is widespread support for an increase from Labor, the Greens, welfare groups, business organisations like the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group, economists and the Reserve Bank.

Colin Brinsden