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‘Won’t be enough’: New JobSeeker rate confirmed

Australians eligible for the JobSeeker supplement will receive $40 a day from April, according to Services Australia.

The Coronavirus Supplement is due to end on 31 March, and after that date the payment will revert to its pre-COVID-19 level.

"From 1 April 2021, your payment will change to the normal JobSeeker payment rate for your situation,” Services Australia’s website reads.

That means single Australians with no children will receive income support of $565.70 per fortnight, a sum that has been described as far too small.

That payment was effectively doubled last year when the Government introduced the $550 Coronavirus Supplement.

However, the supplement fell to $250 in September 2020 and $150 in January, with warnings further cuts will be devastating for vulnerable Australians.

"If the payment wasn't enough then, it won't be enough this coming April," Australian Council of Social Services senior advisor Charmaine Crowe told AAP.

"Millions are facing agonising decisions like whether they will be able to afford to stay in their homes, and which essential items - like food, bills or medicine - they will have to cut back on even further.”

An interim report from a Senate inquiry on the Government’s response to the pandemic recommended a permanent increase to JobSeeker.

“It has been widely acknowledged for years, by business and community stakeholders alike that the permanent rate of JobSeeker at $40 a day is totally inadequate, often forcing recipients to live well below the poverty line.

“The committee agrees that the original rate of JobSeeker is inadequate,” the interim report stated.

Economists have also warned that phasing out the JobSeeker boost will spell the end for 145,000 jobs and shrink the economy.

Politicians including former Coalition Prime Minister John Howard have also called for the rate to be increased.

However, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said the rate will not be increased.

"The coronavirus supplement is designed to provide temporary, short-term financial assistance to help individuals and families in these uncertain times, and address the economic impacts of COVID-19," a spokeswoman from the Department of Social Services said in a statement to AAP.

With AAP.

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