The federal government is looking to announce a permanent increase in Centrelink payments for unemployed Australians.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is likely to make an announcement during the mini budget next month on an increase to welfare payments of $75-a-week, the Herald Sun reported.
This would result in an extra $3,900 a year for Newstart recipients, and come into effect to coincide with the end of the COVID-19 Jobseeker package.
The federal government is looking to announce a permanent increase in Centrelink payments for unemployed Australians (pictured, a queue outside a Sydney Centrelink office)
Unemployed Australians have seen dole payments double to $1,100 thanks to coronavirus emergency measures aimed at propping up the economy.
Thousands are currently receiving $550 extra every fortnight on top of the existing Newstart payment of $559 every two weeks.
With the changes, the new fortnightly payment for singles with no dependents would be around $634, or $682.70 for singles with children.
The previous JobSeeker or Newstart payment was $559 per fortnight for singles with no children, and $604.70 per fortnight for those with children.
An anonymous minister told the Herald Sun it was the only solution considering the state of unemployment across Australia.
A shut down café for sale in Mollymook on the NSW south coast (pictured on April 7) after businesses across the country were hit by COVID-19 restrictions
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (pictured on June 18 in Canberra) is likely to make an announcement during the mini budget next month on an increase to welfare payments
‘There is no way it can go back to what it was. We have people on welfare that have never been out of work and now they are lining up outside Centrelink,’ the minister said.
The new measures follow years of lobbying from social services groups to increase the payment.
The boost in the government’s welfare package comes after a pub boss said he was struggling to find employees willing to lift a finger for their $1,100-a-fortnight JobSeeker allowance.
ALH Group WA manager Ric Torchia says young people who live in affluent areas are particularly reluctant to return to work at the 27 bars he manages across the state.
It comes as some businesses struggle to get employees to work on Job Seeker because they’re being paid too much to do nothing (pictured, crowds wander Bondi Beach on June 6)
One bar manager suspects young people in well-off suburbs have moved back in with their parents (pictured, young people enjoy the views in Byron Bay on June 20)
Mr Torchia desperately needs more workers since Western Australia moved to phase four of its restrictions on Saturday.
The state now allows pub-goers to drink and eat provided they have two square metres between them.
‘I’m calling people offering them their shifts back and they’re saying, ‘I’m good, thanks. I’ll come back when JobSeeker ends’,’ Mr Torchia told The West Australian.
‘JobSeeker is actually hurting us because it’s like this designer drug they don’t want to get off. They’re not interested in coming into work for 20 hours a week when they can earn the same amount at home.’
WA Premier Mark McGowan has since urged those reliant on JobSeeker to get off their backsides, saying ‘our economy needs you’.
A woman pours a dark ale at a Melbourne bar. Young bar workers on the $1,100-a-fortnight JobSeeker allowance are reluctant to go back to work, according to ALH Group WA manager Ric Torchia
WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) urged West Australians on the JobSeeker allowance to return to work if they have been offered a job on Saturday
Mr Torchia said people who live in ‘tougher areas’ are more likely to return to work than those in affluent areas.
He suspects young people in well-off suburbs have moved back in with their parents and are living comfortably on JobSeeker while poorer people still struggle.
‘In the past, they (affluent people) would not have considered the dole but it has become so widespread now,’ he said.
WA Premier Mark McGowan urged those on the JobSeeker allowance to return to work if they have been offered a job on Saturday.
‘If you can get a job, take it. This is a time when our economy needs you, our state needs you,’ Mr McGowan said.
‘There’s lots of roles out there that a lot of people haven’t traditionally done – we’ve relied upon backpackers or we’ve relied upon people with certain visas – they’re not here now.
‘So we need West Australians to do all sorts of roles out there across the state, particularly in the regions. It’s a great opportunity to do something different.’
People lining up for JobSeeker payments outside of Centrelink (pictured in Adelaide) after payments were increased
Centrelink penalties for not accepting suitable work have been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This means there is no way to reprimand young welfare recipients not looking for work while receiving the JobSeeker allowance.
But the JobKeeper wage subsidy, which is $1,500 a fortnight, works very differently.
If an employee refuses to work, the employer is required to tell the government so they can cut off subsidies for that particular worker.
Some 1.6 million Australians currently claim the JobSeeker allowance, which is now $1,100 per fortnight since it was doubled in April.
On September 27, the JobSeeker payment is set to return to $550 a fortnight.
The revelation that some JobSeeker workers are refusing to return to work comes after news that the basic allowance could be increased.
Mr Torchia (pictured) said people who live in ‘tougher areas’ are more likely to return to work than those in affluent areas as wealthier people tend to rely on their parents more
Once the $550 COVID-19 supplement is scrapped in September, recipients will be left with just $40 a day.
An increase to the unemployment benefit’s basic $550 allowance is reportedly coming into effect on September 27.
Sources told ABC News the JobSeeker benefit may be inflated by the government to cushion Australians from the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Daily Mail Australia understands the increase to JobSeeker could be permanent, beyond the old Newstart rate.
The Belgian Beer Café in Perth, which Mr Torchia manages along with 26 other bars in WA. He said JobSeeker was like a ‘designer drug’ keeping people away from work
Scott Morrison warns Australia is ‘addicted’ to handouts and rules out extending the $20BILLION-per-month JobKeeper scheme
The coronavirus JobKeeper scheme will come to an end within months, as Scott Morrison warned against the country becoming ‘addicted’ to state handouts.
In a heated exchange with Labor leader Anthony Albanese in parliament, the prime minister said the emergency measures could not stay in place forever.
The $130billion wage subsidy scheme is costing taxpayers $20billion every month, providing $1,500-a-fortnight to workers who might otherwise be laid off.
Mr Morrison ruled out extending JobKeeper passed the current September 27 end date, saying he looked forward to a day when the scheme could be shut down.
‘We don’t want an Australian economy that’s propped up by subsidies,’ he said in a press conference when asked about a possible extension.
Expanding on the issue later in parliament, he said: ‘We cannot have an economy addicted to the measures we have in place.
‘They will break them eventually and that is a day we look forward to.’
Senior politicians have admitted there was ‘no way’ Australia can afford to extend the scheme
People are seen queuing outside a Centrelink office on April 20 in Melbourne (pictured) during the COVID-19 crisis