Dole increase less than $50 a week

Scott Morrison is set to announce a permanent increase of less than $50 a week, a rise far lower than the one groups say is needed.

Scott Morrison is set to announce a permanent increase to the dole of less than $50 a week, bowing to widespread concerns that it was a “fairness issue” for the unemployed.

News.com.au has confirmed the planned increase is substantially lower than the $175 a week increase welfare groups have been calling for to help struggling families.

Instead, it’s less than $50 a week, which means the permanent increase will be less than $7 a day for unemployed workers.

The Prime Minister will outline the new payment, and new mutual obligation requirements to secure the JobSeeker payment, to the Liberal party room meeting on Tuesday.

But the Morrison cabinet has junked a more ambitious plan to eliminate multiple supplement payments as too complex at the current time.

During the pandemic, the Morrison Government briefly doubled the dole to $550 a week lifting thousands of unemployed people to just below the poverty line.

The JobSeeker base payment is currently set at $565 a fortnight for singles without children and the $150 COVID-19 JobSeeker supplement ends next month.

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In Parliament, Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisted his government was “getting Australians back to work.”

“Our economic recovery program from the COVID-19 pandemic is working,’’ he said.

“More than 59,000 full-time jobs were created in January. The Labor Party is having an each way bet on pandemic politics, they play it each and every day. They oppose it as much they support it.

“The reality of what the government is doing is getting Australians back into work.”

The Australian Council of Social Services is calling for a permanent increase of at least $25 a day. Prior to the pandemic, Newstart was $40 a day.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said the proposed changes welfare groups were calling for would increase the dole to $65 a day.

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“We cannot leave people to make impossible choices between food, rent, bills basic toiletries and medications. Everyone should be able to cover the basics of their life, including people with disability and single parents who are on the JobSeeker Payment. We must also ensure people can meet the costs of job search, including transport, communications and clothing,’’ she said.

“Australia has the lowest unemployment payment in the OECD and there is widespread support for a permanent, adequate increase after more than a quarter of a century without a real increase.

“At just $51 a day, the current rate of JobSeeker is clearly not enough with people again unable to pay their rent, skipping meals, and afford essential bills.

“The Morrison Government delivered an historic and long overdue increase to JobSeeker in 2020, protecting millions from poverty overnight,” Dr Goldie said. “It must now deliver on a permanent and adequate increase to JobSeeker for the long term.

“We have an obligation to make sure that anyone hit by unemployment, whenever that occurs, at least has enough to meet their essential costs and live with dignity so they can begin to rebuild their lives.”

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