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Jobs Minister announces major change to JobSeeker requirements

Michaelia Cash has announced a major change to JobSeeker requirements. Images: Getty

Australians receiving JobSeeker will not be required to fulfil mutual obligations until 1 June 2020, the jobs minister has said, as half a million Australians join the unemployment queue. 

Mutual obligations usually require Australians on JobSeeker, formerly Newstart, to carry out certain tasks to prove they are looking for work. 

However, amid “heartbreaking” new unemployment figures released today, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has announced a further postponement of mutual obligations. 

“It is a difficult time for the 1.6 million people who are on JobSeeker. In that regard, as the Prime Minister said, I am today announcing that the suspension of mutual obligations…  until 1 June,” Cash said. 

Mutual obligations had previously been postponed until 22 May. 

The decision came after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday night and was informed by Treasury analysis, Cash said. 

Additionally, when mutual obligations are reintroduced, they will be reintroduced in stages. 

“Because of the nature of Covid-19 restrictions, I will confirm that when mutual obligation is reintroduced, it will be induced in stages and in the first stage, there will be no penalties or suspensions applied,” she said. 

“This should give people confidence that they can  pick up the phone, talk to their provider, but if they do not get around to doing that, or there are reasons they are unable to do that, no suspension or penalty will apply.”

However, some JobSeeker recipients have claimed they have still been called on to fulfil mutual obligations. 

According to reports, a senior member of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, told chief executives of employment agencies to continue to book appointments with JobSeekers.

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