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$121 a week: Treasurer reveals 'additional' Centrelink cash boost for Federal Budget 2024

Centrelink payments are set to rise after calls to make a 'substantial' increase to fortnightly payments for vulnerable Australians.

Welfare recipients are set to have their Centrelink payments increased in next week's federal budget. The latest hint from Treasurer Jim Chalmers indicated "additional steps in the budget" to help those who receive social security payments.

Chalmers has been under pressure to make a "substantial" increase to the $762.70 fortnightly JobSeeker unemployment payment, which is about $55 a day. He said on Tuesday the government will adopt some measures called for by the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee (EIAC).

Among those was to increase JobSeeker to 90 per cent of the aged pension, which would boost their payments to $1004.67, or a rise of about $121 per week.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 20: Treasurer Jim Chalmers is seen on February 20, 2024 in Perth, Australia. The Albanese government recently rolled back planned stage three tax cuts, choosing instead to target the cuts at middle and lower income groups. (Photo by Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)
Jim Chalmers has hinted that welfare recipients could get a boosted payment in the federal budget. (Matt Jelonek via Getty Images)

" There will be additional steps in this budget which are conscious of the recommendations that that important, well-regarded, well-informed committee, has put to us," Chalmers said.


"We take it seriously. We can't afford to do every recommendation put to us by that committee."

The body made 22 recommendations, but the treasurer - who is set to deliver a second consecutive budget surplus - stopped short of revealing which would be implemented.

"In some cases, announcing future directions is warranted. In others, we need to be a bit more careful because we need to be cognisant of the budget situation and what we can afford," he said.

"We don't want to over-promise and under-deliver when it comes to our most vulnerable people."

The government increased JobSeeker and related payments by $40 a fortnight in last year's budget, along with a boost to Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

Rent assistance could again be on the cards, with Finance Minister Katy Gallagher noting on Sunday that it may be part of a broader approach to address women's economic insecurity.

Cost-of-living help has been flagged as a "central focus" of this year's budget. Tax breaks are the primary source but the government has touched on other sweet spots. Here's a short summary of what we know so far:

Stage 3 tax cuts: Every Australian will start to see an increase in their pay as tax cuts come in July 1. Find out more here.

HECS-HELP debt indexation change: Up to three million Aussies to have student loans increased in line with either the consumer price index or wage price index, whichever is lower. This is set to be backdated, wiping billions of debt that ballooned last year, but it needs to pass before June. Find out more here.

Placement payment: Students in some health and teaching fields will be eligible for a $320-a-week payment, on top of other income support, to help with hours spent doing unpaid work. Find out more here.

Energy rebates: Anthony Albanese has hinted at an energy bill lifeline could be continued in July while discussing the benefits of a previous $1.5 billion spent on emergency energy rebates. Find out more here.

Superannuation paid on parental leave: Parents are getting an expanded parental leave scheme and now the government has flagged introducing 12 per cent superannuation payments from July 1, 2025. The catch, they'd have to be re-elected. Find out more here.

Domestic violence: Financial support of up to $5,000 will be given to those escaping violence from July 1, 2025 as part of a fresh $925 million package. Find out more here.

THE BIG ISSUE: Inflation is hurting Australians more than anything, and budget measures to ease that financial pressure risk igniting a fresh inflation battle. Chalmers must tread carefully.

Chalmers said Australia was set to save $80 billion in interest payments over the next decade after net debt was brought down $152 billion lower than the almost $1 trillion forecast by the previous Coalition government.

The budget will be handed down next Tuesday.