The Prime Minister hinted on Thursday the JobSeeker payment, formerly Newstart, will return to its pre-coronavirus level once the pandemic has subsided.
The $550 Coronavirus Supplement was introduced as part of the government’s second stimulus package announced on 22 March, with many Aussies on welfare breathing a sigh of relief.
In fact, with the JobSeeker payment effectively doubling, many thought it would be tough for the prime minister to revert back to just $550 per fortnight.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday all-but-confirmed the supplement was temporary.
When asked whether the increased level of JobSeeker would extend further than six months, the prime minister said: “We put a Covid supplement in place for the period of the pandemic and that's what we've budgeted for and that's what our policy is.”
Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert has responded, saying Australia will not accept a return to $40 a day.
No one in country as wealthy as Australia should be living in poverty.
The community will not accept a return to people living on $40 a day.
We will #RetaintheRate #COVID19 #Jobseeker pic.twitter.com/RDq7ic3qgI
— Rachel Siewert (@SenatorSiewert) April 23, 2020
“We will retain the rate,” she said.
“I am gobsmacked that the PM is thinking it is ok to return the Jobseeker payment to $40 a day in 6 months, condemning what is likely to be over a million people to living in poverty.
“How can it be Gov policy for people to live below the poverty line?”
JobSeeker claims topple 500,000
The prime minister said on Thursday some 587,686 applications for JobSeeker had already been processed, and around half a million Aussies have applied to access their super early.
Morrison revealed the number of people registering as unemployed since the coronavirus crisis settled in was more than what Services Australia usually reported over a whole year.