Aussies on Newstart are set to finally catch a break, as the government moves to include one-off payments of $500 in its coronavirus stimulus package.
The stimulus, expected to be as large as $20 billion, is intended to buffer an impending economic recession.
The payment was revealed by Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell on Wednesday afternoon.
“The size of it illustrates just how much the government fears a recession because of this coronavirus,” he said.
In addition to Newsrart recipients, pensioners and small businesses are also expected to received a similar payment from the government.
“They are the only three groups who’ll be getting that cash payment, sources have told me,” Clennell said.
“But obviously that’s a lot of Australians, nevertheless.”
For those keeping track, the last one-off payment of this kind – during the Global Financial Crisis of 2009 – was $900 from Kevin Rudd.
The welfare system has been in the spotlight recently as the coronavirus outbreak forces more and more Aussies to stay home from work.
However, signing up for Newstart requires a physical appointment, meaning those in self-isolation may not be able to apply it should they suddenly find themselves off work.
Despite the one-off payment, Social Services Minister Anne Ruston has already hinted that the actual rate of Newstart will not increase.
The Newstart allowance hasn’t been raised in real terms since 1994, and advocates now argue that the $279.50 weekly payment does not meet the cost of living in most Australian cities.
The government is still finalising the stimulus package, and is expected to release the details in full on Thursday.