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Hints 1.2 million set for JobSeeker boost

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
An increase to JobSeeker is now expected. Images: Getty
An increase to JobSeeker is now expected. Images: Getty

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The Federal Government’s budget committee has met on Friday to decide on the permanent rate of JobSeeker amid growing calls from local and international groups to avoid drastic and damaging moves.

Once the $150 fortnightly Coronavirus Supplements end on 31 March, the JobSeeker payment would return to $40 a day for a single recipient with no children, unless the Government acts to permanently increase the rate.

“I have said previously that the government is considering the rate of JobSeeker once this elevated level ends in March,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told ABC AM.

“We want all Australians to live with dignity.

“But also we want all Australians who are on the JobSeeker payment to eventually move into the workforce and as quickly as possible.”

On Monday, Frydenberg hinted at an increase to the rate, saying the Government will “make an announcement about the future rate of JobSeeker” before the end of March.

Moves to increase the rate have been supported by the federal opposition, the social lobby, unions, the Reserve Bank of Australia, economists and even former prime ministers.

Sources have claimed the Government is considering rolling smaller allowances like telephone, utilities and pharmaceutical allowances into a larger JobSeeker that would leave recipients better off.

And on Friday, the European Central Bank (ECB) president Christine Lagarde said governments need to take care to ensure they don’t “brutally” remove job guarantees and income support prematurely.

“That's the moment which I think is the most difficult, the most subtle, and where judgment will have to be applied," Lagarde told CNN.

Around 1.2 million Australians would benefit from an increase to the base rate of JobSeeker, with expectations that the higher rate could be legislated in the coming week.

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