Australians receiving the now $1,100 per fortnight JobSeeker payment are rapt, after the government hinted at a boost to the base rate when the Coronavirus Supplement ends.
“I believe JobSeekers had a win tonight,” one member of a Centrelink Facebook group said on Sunday. “To what extent I am not sure, but definitely a step toward more fresh fruit and vegetables.”
Finance minister Mathias Cormann confirmed to Sky News’ Sunday Agenda over the weekend that government income support measures, like JobKeeper, would be tailored after their expiry date in September.
"Once we get to the end of September it will be a matter of making sure that any ongoing support is appropriately targeted to those businesses who genuinely need it," Cormann said.
On the topic of JobSeeker, which was $550 per fortnight before the virus, but was doubled to $1,100 per fortnight by the $550 Coronavirus Supplement, Cormann hinted a boost was fairly imminent.
"We're making judgments on the most appropriate arrangements into the future," Cormann said.
“It’s encouraging,” a member of the group said.
“Anything more than pre-coronavirus is a win,” another added.
The $550 Covid-19 supplement was so helpful to the millions of Australians receiving JobSeeker, that it sparked a movement, 550 Reasons to Smile, which saw recipients share what changes the $550 supplement had made to their lives.
The women behind the group told Yahoo Lifestyle people were finally able to “eat proper meals,” and “escape domestic violence”.
“We can never go back,” the women stated on the Facebook page.
The news follows widespread calls from multiple industry experts and associations, like ACOSS, the Business Council of Australia, Deloitte Access Economics and the Reserve Bank of Australia for JobSeeker to be permanently increased.
It also follows a report by the Australia Institute, which revealed that 4.2 million Australians would fall into poverty once the boost expired - a further 650,000 than initially touted, including 120,000 children.
“If the coronavirus supplement is removed at the end of September as planned, the number of people in poverty will increase by more than 650,000, from 3.58 million to 4.24 million,” the report found.
The Prime Minister said in a press conference on Monday that he and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg would be making further announcements on JobSeeker soon.
“It will be phased and we will be announcing the next phase post-September,” he said of the government subsidies.
“The support that had been in place since April will be in place until September, and then we’ll move into a new phase.”
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