JobSeeker payment finally set to increase

 

The federal government is set to finally increase the dole's $40-a-day base rate as the coronavirus throws hundreds of thousands more people out of work.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is working out how to reshape Australia's welfare system, after Australia's unemployment rose to 7.1 per cent in May as another 227,000 people lost their jobs.

The latest jobless figures are the worst since October 2001 and would be far grimmer were it not for another big fall in workforce participation.

Mr Morrison described the figures as heartbreaking.

He also warned there would likely be more people joining unemployment queues in the months ahead.

The government is examining the best way to balance its JobKeeper wage subsidy and doubling of the JobSeeker unemployment payment beyond their scheduled September finish.

Yesterday, Mr Morrison didn't rule out an increase to the dole's $40-a-day base rate.

The ABC now reports Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will confirm an increase to the base rate of JobSeeker - previously known as Newstart - in July's mini-budget, marking a major shift in policy after years of resisting pressure from welfare groups.

The JobSeeker payment was doubled to $1100-a-fortnight at the start of the crisis and the government will reportedly not return it to pre-COVID-19 levels, although the details have not yet been confirmed.

The latest jobless figures are the worst since October 2001. Picture: John Grainger
The latest jobless figures are the worst since October 2001. Picture: John Grainger

 

Earlier in the week, Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter conceded it was inevitable people would move from the wage subsidy to unemployment payments.

Mr Morrison and Mr Frydenberg rejected questions from Labor in parliament about how many more jobs would be lost once JobKeeper ends.

"The member's question is presumptuous because he makes assumptions about government policy on decisions that have not been made," the prime minister told parliament.

The PM also continues to agitate to unlock interstate travel, with new figures showing ongoing border closures are costing the economy $84 million a day.

The Northern Territory government announced on Thursday it will reopen its domestic borders on July 17.

South Australia is already allowing visitors from the NT, Western Australia and Tasmania, and will open up to other states on July 20 while Queensland plans to reopen from July 10.

WA and Tasmania have not said when they will loosen travel restrictions. Mr Morrison said borders should never have been closed in the first place.

There were 21 new cases of coronavirus recorded across Australia on Thursday.

Victoria had another big jump with 18 new cases, including a third Black Lives Matter rally participant testing positive.

NSW recorded two and WA one, all returned travellers in quarantine.

Originally published as JobSeeker payment finally set to increase



DON’T SWIM: Red alert for blue-green algae in waterway

DON’T SWIM: Red alert for blue-green algae in waterway

Council is also considering the introduction of water restrictions

Mum-of-five attacks woman while brandishing a knife

Premium Content Mum-of-five attacks woman while brandishing a knife

The North Coast mum claimed women had been drinking when the fight broke out.

'VERY HOT': Summer strikes hard, chance of storms every day

Premium Content 'VERY HOT': Summer strikes hard, chance of storms every day

Northern Rivers is in for a rollercoaster week of weather