Unemployment benefits to increase by $100 a week with direct cash cheques for households as part of plan to drive Australia’s coronavirus recovery
- Grattan Institute think tank calling for a $100 a week increase in jobless dole pay
- JobSeeker temporarily doubled to $1,115 a fortnight until the end of September
- The government however has talked down the prospect of a generous dole rise
Unemployed Australians could be receiving a permanent $100 a week boost to their dole payments to encourage people to spend more, if a think tank has its way.
Since April 27, the JobSeeker benefit has been temporarily doubled from the old Newstart rate of $565.70 a fortnight to $1,115.70, with a $550 coronavirus supplement.
With that short-term boost ending in September, the Grattan Institute think tank is calling for a permanent $100 a week increase.
This would take JobSeeker payments to $765.70 a fortnight.
It estimated this policy would cost $2billion in 2021-21 and $8billion in 2021-22, marking the first permanent increase in the dole beyond inflation since 1994.
Unemployed Australians could be receiving a permanent $100 a week boost to their dole payments to encourage people to spend more. Pictured is a Centrelink queue on March 23, 2020
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, who is in charge of Centrelink, on Sunday ruled out a less generous $75 a week increase.
Grattan Institute plan for the unemployed
The Grattan Institute is calling for the JobSeeker rate to be permanently raised by $100 a week
This would see the dole rise to $765.70 a fortnight, up from the old Newstart rate of $565.70 a fortnight
The think tank calculated this would cost $2billion in 2020-21 and $8billion in 2021-22
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday cautioned against making the dole too generous, even though Australia’s unemployment rate in May rose to a 19-year high of 7.1 per cent.
‘We can’t allow the JobSeeker payment to become an impediment to people out and doing work, you know, getting extra shifts,’ he told Sydney radio 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley.
‘We are getting a lot of anecdotal feedback from small businesses and large businesses where some of them are finding it hard to get people to come and take the shifts, because they’re on these these higher levels of payments.’
Nonetheless, the Grattan Institute said raising unemployment benefits was an essential part of driving an economic recovery, arguing it would boost spending and create jobs.
‘Failing to provide this support will condemn many Australians to unemployment for longer,’ it said.
‘During the Great Depression, and in many advanced economies in the past decade, premature moves to austerity held back recoveries and, in some cases, created new recessions.’