Finance Your Budget ‘No such proposal’: Govt rejects reports it’s planning to hike dole payments
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‘No such proposal’: Govt rejects reports it’s planning to hike dole payments

Australians line up for JobSeeker in the shadow of the COVID-19 plague. Photo: Getty
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The Morrison government has denied it about to permanently lift the dole payment when the Treasurer makes a long awaited economic statement next month.

News Corp newspapers, citing senior ministers, had reported the JobSeeker payment would rise to $75 per day from $40 when the present enhanced version of the unemployment payment ends in September.

“What I can say about the story that was written today is there is no submission to the effect that has been reported in the paper,” Senator Ruston told reporters in Adelaide on Sunday.

“We are very focused on the temporary measures we need to put in place to make sure that we can get Australians through this pandemic to the other side.”

The JobSeeker payment, formerly known as Newstart, was doubled to around $1100 a fortnight as a support measure during the pandemic.

Treasury has reviewed both JobSeeker and the JobKeeper wage subsidy, but the findings won’t be released until July 23, when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers a much-anticipated economic statement.

“At the time, we said they were targeted, they were temporary, they were measured and they still are and we are working in that environment of transition at the moment,” the minister said.

“We’re not looking at the long-term.

“The government is focused on the next phase of short-term measures designed to address the COVID-19 crisis.”

The JobSeeker payment, formerly known as Newstart, was doubled to around $1100 a fortnight as a support measure during the pandemic.
Treasury has been reviewing both JobSeeker and the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

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Tanya Plibersek sees the jobless being stripped of dignity if the dole returns to its former level. Photo: AAP

Senior Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said people who had been forced onto the dole because of the coronavirus pandemic were in for a shock if the JobSeeker payment returned to its pre-crisis rate of $40 per a day.

“It is an inadequate payment, it doesn’t allow people to live with dignity,” she told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program

“We now have hundreds of thousands of extra people joining the dole queue, people who have been working full time until very recently that would very much struggle if what’s now called JobSeeker went back to the old Newstart rate.”

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers accused the government of keeping the review secret until after Saturday’s Eden-Monaro by-election.

“The government is holding businesses and workers hostage to the by-election date and putting politics before people once again,” Dr Chalmers told AAP.

“Scott Morrison should release the JobKeeper review immediately, not keep Australians in the dark.”

The Coalition has long argued against raising the unemployment payment, which hasn’t been increased for 25 years apart from indexation increases.

There is widespread support for an increase from Labor, The Greens, welfare groups, business organisations like the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group, economists and the Reserve Bank.

-AAP