The Federal Government will reportedly extend the JobSeeker payment until March, but at a reduced rate, offering some sort of relief to those who depend on it.
According to The Australian, cabinet’s expenditure review committee signed off on the extension last week, however, this is yet to be confirmed by the government.
As it currently stands, the coronavirus supplement payment – aka the booster that makes the abysmal Newstart rate *somewhat* liveable – is set to expire on December 31, so this could be a huge lifeline for millions of Aussies.
The supplement is currently $250 per fortnight, however, it is expected to drop down to $150 if continued until March.
Obviously, it’s worth noting that although The Australian is reporting on it, the Morrison government hasn’t actually announced anything yet.
However, we already know that Scott Morrison was planning on making further JobSeeker announcements later this year, which leads me to believe that The Australian is onto something here.
The news comes after months of rallying from Labor, the Greens, and countless other activist groups to raise the Newstart rate permanently, noting that it hasn’t seen a proper increase since 1994.
But people aren’t just campaigning to raise Newstart so people can *checks notes* actually afford to live, there’s also some solid evidence to support the theory that keeping it at a higher rate could be a step in the right direction out of the recession.
A recent Deloitte analysis funded by the Australian Council of Social Service found that the drop in consumer spending that will follow a JobSeeker cut would actually *cost* the economy a whopping $31.8 billion and 145,000 jobs over the next two years.
At this point, raising Newstart seems like the only logical decision, both for the sake of the economy, and for the welfare of our most vulnerable Australians.
But the Morrison Government has had months to organise a permanent solution, and it still looks like they’re planning to cut it back as soon as humanly possible.
We’ll be sure to update you as soon as the government makes an official call on the fate of JobSeeker.
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