More than 40 of Australia’s top economists are in support of permanently raising the abysmally low JobSeeker rate, despite the government refusing to make any solid commitment to increasing the rate.
It’s a topic that has been debated for quite literally longer than I have been alive, but after a taste of a somewhat liveable JobSeeker allowance throughout the pandemic, the movement to raise the rate has grown stronger than ever.
The government is yet to confirm whether or not they’ll permanently raise the rate just yet, but in anticipation, The Conversation and the Economic Society of Australia surveyed 45 of Australia’s top economists to see what they think of the proposal. And hoo boy, the results are really something.
Shockingly, only four of the participants are happy for the rate to revert to $287.25 per week (which includes the $4.40 energy allowance).
The most popular answer was to raise the rate between $100-$150 per week, with 37.8% of the surveyed economists believing that this would be the best option.
An additional 13 participants chose the $50-$100 per week option, followed by seven economists who think the rate should be raised by at least $150 per week.
Obviously, this is just a snapshot of 45 economists across the country, and likely doesn’t represent the industry as a whole.
But according to the figures, only eight of the top economists in the country would be satisfied with anything less than a $50 increase per week.
Interestingly, more than 60% of the participants (68.9%) also believe that the increases should be indexed in line with the national minimum wage, rather than with the increase in the cost of goods, as it has been previously.
“The JobSeeker allowance should be grown at the same rate as average real wages (roughly inflation plus productivity growth) and there should be a significant one-time level adjustment to make up for the many years of growing only with the consumer price index,” Chris Edmond of The University of Melbourne suggested.
The survey comes after a recent Deloitte analysis showed that a drop in consumer spending as a result of cutting JobSeeker back to its pre-COVID amount would actually cost the economy a whopping $31.3 billion and over 145,000 jobs over the next two years.
So basically, we’ve crunched the numbers *and* spoken to the experts and everyone except Josh Frydenberg can agree that we should just raise the bloody rate.