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Centrelink recipients face grim news from Budget 2021

·2-min read
Centrelink recipients won't get any cash boost from Budget 2021. (Source: Getty)
Centrelink recipients won't get any cash boost from Budget 2021. (Source: Getty)

The 2021 Federal Budget announced on Thursday night contained no new measures or boosts for welfare recipients in a clear signal that the days of emergency stimulus packages are over.

The already-announced $50-a-fortnight increase to the JobSeeker payment rate will amount to $9.3 billion in extra spending from Government coffers, aimed at benefiting 1.9 million recipients.

However, the controversial cashless debit card trial will continue, although the Government remains tight-lipped about its costings amid “ongoing negotiations with potential commercial providers”.

Meanwhile, a debt recovery taskforce has been bolstered to crack down on fraud and non-compliance.

More on Federal Budget 2021:

The strengthened mutual obligations requirements will remain in place, including a $2.5 million spend on the unpopular ‘DobSeeker’ hotline and $1.5 million on face-to-face appointments with jobseekers.

“Creating the right incentives for job seekers to seek employment will lift workforce participation,” the budget papers stated.

Elsewhere, nearly $24 million spread across two years from 2020-21 will be spent on ‘Taskforce Integrity’, which “undertak[es] prevention, detection, investigation and recoveries of debts relating to complex fraud and serious non compliance against the social security payments system, as well as enablers of fraud such as identity crime”.

Australia Council of Social Services (ACOSS) chief Cassandra Goldie said the Budget left too many people on low incomes stranded.

“There are still 1.3 million people on JobSeeker & Youth Allowance payments, half of them for over a year. JobSeeker is just $44 a day, and Youth Allowance even less,” she said.

“So far the government has given around $20 billion dollars in personal tax cuts to people already in paid jobs for the next financial year, plus tens of billions in business tax incentives. But not a single cent more to people living in deep poverty, including women on low incomes.”

What does the Budget have for unemployed people?

With a clear goal to get Australians into jobs, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced $4.6 billion on helping Aussies secure employment.

$2.7 billion, spread out across four years from 2020-21, has been set aside to boost apprenticeship wage subsidies.

A further $258.6 million across four years will go towards expanding the Local Jobs Program which helps workers reskill, upskill and find employment pathways in certain regions.

$15.6 million has been allocated to jobactive, Transition to Work and ParentsNext programs, and a further $15.5 million will go towards helping Aussies set up their own businesses.

Aussies can contact Centrelink or Services Australia by phoning them.

Find all of our Federal Budget 2021 coverage here, and get it delivered to your inbox via our newsletter here.

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