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(Services Australia)

Leading economists have added their voice to calls for the Albanese Government to boost the rate of JobSeeker, saying the current $386 a week “entrenches disadvantage”. Source: The Australian.

The economists, including Chris Richardson, Nicki Hutley and professors Roger Wilkins and Guyonne Kalb from the Melbourne Institute, have written to the Prime Minister urging him to use the 2024 Budget to increase JobSeeker and Youth Allowance to 90 per cent of the age pension.

This would cost the Budget $4.6 billion a year, which they say is a quarter of the cost of the Stage 3 tax cuts, their letter states.

“We … urge you to substantially increase JobSeeker and related payments, including the Youth Allowance Payment, in the upcoming Budget,” they wrote.

“Against any measure these payments are inadequate to support people with no or limited employment and entrench disadvantage in the community.

“The current rate of JobSeeker is $386 per week, which (at) 43 per cent of the full-time minimum wage (before tax) … falls below all existing measures of poverty, Budget standards and other income support payments like pensions.

“People receiving JobSeeker report not having enough money for food, healthcare, and housing, and routinely end up in debt,” they wrote.

The economists note that two-thirds of current JobSeeker and Youth Allowance recipients have been on the payment for more than a year, and the majority of those on JobSeeker are aged 45 and over.

Both Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers have been quick to play down any substantial lift to the payment in the Budget.


Boost JobSeeker or entrench disadvantage, economists say (By Stephen Lunn, The Australian)