The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced JobSeeker payments will increase by $50 a fortnight from April when the coronavirus supplement ends.
However, to qualify for the payment, recipients will need to meet extended mutual obligations – including face to face meetings with employment services and job training if unemployed for more than six months.
An appropriate payment for COVID-normal
The PM has described the payment boost as “appropriate” despite condemnation from welfare groups, The Greens and the Opposition. The boost will take the JobSeeker allowance to $307 per week and will cost an estimated $9 billion.
“We are now moving back to a normal safety net arrangement as part of that normalising process, but we’re ensuring that it is set at a base we believe is appropriate going forward,” Morrison said.
The increase in JobSeeker will follow the removal of the coronavirus supplement. The raise will take the JobSeeker payment to 41 per cent of the minimum wage – still well below the poverty line.
Sustainable and fair or a joke?
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the increase was what was most sustainable and fair for both the people who need the payment and the taxpayers who ultimately foot the bill.
“This increase is about getting the balance right.”
Both Labor and the Greens have called out the government for failing to provide adequate support payments to the unemployed with the Greens going so far as to suggest the increase was a joke.
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert told ABC $25 a week was not enough money for those people facing hardship.
“It’s a complete and utter joke. it makes a mockery of the government saying that they care about those that are doing it tough in this country.”
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