The Federal Government has announced the permanent raise of the JobSeeker payment by $50 a fortnight when the coronavirus supplement ends next month.
The $50 base rate increase will begin on 1 April and will be applied to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy, Abstudy, and parenting payments. It is estimated to cost the Government around $9 billion over four years.
However, the newly-increased benefit will still drop below the current rate of $715 a fortnight when the $150 coronavirus supplement expires at the end of March, averaging out to $43/day, which is only $3/day more than pre-pandemic payments.
This news comes at a time when there have been renewed calls from Labor, the Greens, welfare groups, and even RBA governor Philip Lowe – who said “cutting the JobSeeker rate back to $40 a day would create a fairness issue” – for a permanent increase to the benefit.
I am a #JobSeeker and as of right now even with the $150 supplement I’m eating only 4 days a week and cannot pay any bills after my rent is paid. There needs to be a raise and it needs to happen now. Once that $150 is gone, I’ll barely be able to even afford rent #80aDay
— Keisha Thurtell (@KeishaThurtell) February 19, 2021
The Australian Council of Social Service has previously called for the permanent increase to JobSeeker of at least $25 per day, while the Australian Unemployed Workers Union – backed by the Greens – wanted it raised to $80 a day. It’s safe to say that the $50 increase will be a disappointment to many, as the new JobSeeker payment still places vulnerable Australians below the poverty line.
An extra $50 a fortnight in JobSeeker isn’t a raise. That’s $3.58 a day. It’s a bloody insult.
This decision will keep people going hungry. It will keep unemployed people facing homelessness.
Morrison has chosen all this.
We must raise the rate above the poverty line. #80aDay
— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) February 22, 2021
It’s understood other possible changes, like revoking pandemic-era means testing and income threshold, that could accompany the increase to benefits have not yet been finalised. Such changes could ultimately alter the final, net benefit received by Australians.
Sorry, @JoshFrydenberg and @ScottMorrisonMP, the new #Jobseeker rate is more a slap in the face to the unemployed than anything else. The timing may be appropriate but it’ll win you no friends. You still don’t get it. #auspol
— Ron Baumann (@DrRonBaumann) February 22, 2021