Is boosted JobSeeker getting extended past December?

author-avatar By on October 28, 2020
Is boosted JobSeeker getting extended past December?

Source: Prime Minister's Twitter

Both the Prime Minister and Social Services Minister have indicated that boosted JobSeeker will continue past its initial 31 December cutoff.

Speaking in parliament yesterday, Scott Morrison said he's been "clear" that the supplement will go forward past 2020.

"We expect the new JobSeeker rate will be lower than what it is right now ... it should be higher than the old Newstart rate," he said.

“The precise level and the arrangements that sit around that are matters the government is considering now and will be doing so over the next few weeks.”

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston doubled-down on the Prime Minister's clarity today.

“I think the prime minister made it very clear and provided certainty to Australians that on the 1st of January there is very likely to be continued elevated levels of support," she told a Senate estimates hearing.

"If the evidence supports the continuation of elevated levels of support, they will be made available to Australians who need them."

It is reported there will be an announcement on the supplement's fate in early December.

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In July it was announced that the boosted JobSeeker rate will be extended but reduced from late September until the end of the year.

According to the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), the supplement's fate has been decidedly unclear.

“The increase to JobSeeker through the Coronavirus Supplement at the start of this crisis dramatically reduced poverty rates overnight," ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said after the Budget was announced.

“We need to put in place a permanent, adequate increase to JobSeeker so that the payment is above the poverty line to end our persistently high poverty rates.”

From 25 September the supplement was wound down to $250 a fortnight, bringing the total JobSeeker rate to $815, down from $1,115 total.

However, recipients can still earn $300 of their own money without it affecting the payment, maintaining $1,115 a fortnight.

Since the supplement was introduced in March, ACOSS and other groups have said the unemployed cannot return to the '$40 a day' rate that the old 'Newstart' (now called JobSeeker) provided.

From late September, JobSeeker recipients are also required to increase their job searches to eight a month.

In the months after the pandemic hit, it was wound down to four searches, while beforehand the rate was 20 searches.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Government's aim is to wean businesses and people off assistance such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker.

"In recommending that JobKeeper be continued, the Treasury said it should remain a time-limited program, as it can create disincentives that become more acute as the economy opens up," he wrote in the Financial Review in July.

In September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed the household savings ratio skyrocketed to 46-year highs off the back of government assistance programs, early super withdrawals, and limited capacity to spend money due to COVID lockdowns.

ACOSS also found there was a 13% drop in poverty, while AMP found average household incomes were better off by net $5,000 since mid-March.


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author-avatar
Harrison joined Savings in 2020. He is an experienced journalist, with previous stints at News Corp and financial comparison site Canstar. With a keen interest in personal finance, Harrison is passionate about helping consumers make more informed financial decisions.

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