The federal Opposition will attempt to reverse a promised $40 increase to JobSeeker, saying it would help more people and save the Government money to raise the eligibility cut-off instead. Source: ABC News.
The government committed to raising the fortnightly unemployment payment by $40 plus interest in the federal budget, which Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth confirmed on Sunday would amount to a $56 increase for a single, childless person on JobSeeker.
The lift will take effect from September 20, but only after the Government’s safety net bill passes the Senate.
The Coalition has announced its intention to try to amend that bill in the Senate this week to reverse the $40 lift, instead raising the threshold before benefits begin to be reduced by $150 a fortnight.
Shadow Social Services Minister Michael Sukkar said that measure would save the budget $2.9 billion over the next four years.
“There are 808,000 JobSeeker recipients across the nation, of which more than 75 per cent have zero reported earnings, with no part-time work,” Mr Sukkar said.
“Increasing the income-free area before benefits are reduced incentivises those on working age payments to take up employment opportunities.”
Mr Sukkar said the Opposition would try to convince the Senate of its proposal but ultimately would not stand in the way of the rate increase.
The Albanese Government has flagged it will not support the Opposition’s proposal, but it is likely to face other attempts to amend the Jobseeker change.
The Greens have been highly critical of what they deem an insufficient lift, which the Government’s own working group recommended should be raised to about 90 per cent of the pension payment, or about $874, versus the new Jobseeker rate of $749.
The Government has previously said its more modest rate was carefully calibrated to ensure it did not fuel inflation or become unsustainable.
Coalition moves to reverse $40 JobSeeker lift, proposing lift to benefits cut-off instead (By Jake Evans, ABC News)