- The Federal Government has extended its COVID-19 JobSeeker supplement payment until March 2021
- However, the unemployment benefit top-up will be cut by an extra $100 a fortnight from December
- This means those looking for work will only receive $715 a fortnight, down from a previous high of around $1100 a fortnight
- The Prime Minister has also refused to detail whether the payment will drop back to $40 a day beyond March
The Prime Minister has announced more changes to the JobSeeker payment, extending the COVID-19 supplement payment while also reducing the rate.
It’s both good and bad news for those unemployed, as the changes guarantee the supplement will last until March 2021 — in line with the JobKeeper payment.
But, it also reduces the supplement rate from $250 a fortnight to $150 a fortnight, with that reduction to come into effect from December.
This means from next months job seekers will only have $715 a fortnight to live on, down from the previous rate of $815 a fortnight.
It’s also well down on the previous high of around $1100 a fortnight (for a single person), introduced when COVID-19 first began hitting Australia in late March.
Speaking to the changes, Scott Morrison said it was important people didn’t become too reliant on the Government for help.
“Today’s announcement will see more and more businesses and Australians graduate from the economic supports that were so essential over these many months,” he said.
The PM was also questioned about whether or not the JobSeeker payment, formerly known as Newstart, would increase permanently once COVID-19 subsided.
“We haven’t made a final decision on that,” Scott Morrison said.
“What we are focused on right now is the emergency measures that need to be in place for the pandemic,” he added.
Before March, the unemployment benefit was only $565.7o a fortnight — or roughly $40 a day.
That rate has long attracted criticism from Labor and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), who argue the payment isn’t enough to survive on.
“With this cut, the Government is almost taking us back to the brutal old, Newstart rate,” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.
“The reduced rate is only $10 a day more than the old, unliveable Newstart rate, which had not been increased in real terms in more than a quarter of a century,” she said.
“Coming into effect at Christmas time, this cut is a cruel and damaging mistake, hurting people already doing it tough,” Cassandra concluded.