‘More data’ needed for permanent JobKeeper rate decision: PM

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government is waiting for more data before deciding whether to permanently increase unemployment benefits or return to $ 40 a day before the pandemic at the end of March.

After a pandemic hitting jobs, businesses and the economy, JobSeeker’s payments were effectively doubled with “coronavirus supplements.”

However, the supplement has been rewound in recent months and will be completely discontinued on March 31st.

Welfare groups, Labor and the Greens have called for an increase in the basic JobKeeper rate, which is below poverty levels and has not substantially increased in decades.

Morrison said yesterday that there was a decision awaiting “more information on the labor market” from December, and the government has refused to speculate on whether to raise interest rates permanently.

“Not all data is included,” he told the National Press Club.

“we Having not made those decisions yet, we are considering where people are and many issues related to their needs.

“Australia’s labor market is back and I think it’s coming back much stronger than many expected, but there’s still a long way to go.

“Labor challenges … I have to say that it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, single economic challenges we face in this country.

“The labor market is very sensitive to all these issues and, of course, the circumstances surrounding unemployment benefits.”

He said the analysis of coronavirus supplements would determine which industries could receive additional financial support.

Currently, one Australian without children receives about $ 715 per two weeks, according to the Services Australia website. This includes a $ 150 coronavirus supplement.

The supplement will be discontinued on April 1st, and the equivalent low income rate will drop to about $ 565 per two weeks.

The prospect of returning the rate to $ 40 a day has been criticized by Greens. Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Ziewert said it would have a “catastrophic” impact on the Australian community.

“Living at $ 40 a day and well below the poverty line means going without food, going without medicine, and finding a meaningful job is increasingly out of reach. It means becoming a thing, “said Siewert.

“Morrison says Australians don’t allow the virus to break our psyche, but returning JobSeeker to $ 40 a day breaks our hearts.”

The Australian Council of Social Services has repeatedly called for Siewert to raise rates, calling on the government to raise at least $ 25 a day from its previous $ 40 a day.

Meanwhile, the Australian Chamber of Commerce (ACCI) is seeking a refund of old rates for those who were unemployed during the pandemic.

ACCI’s suggestion is that a $ 150 supplement every two weeks is retained for people who haven’t worked for more than a year.

Employment groups also want a “new financial support mechanism” for companies that are “significantly affected by government regulation” after the end of JobKeeper payments in March.

In a statement, ACCI said financial support was particularly important for tourism and event businesses facing a “disastrous future after the end of support for the economy as a whole.”

“The most important thing governments can do to support their business is to address the uncertainty and imbalances of restrictions, provide a route to resume overseas travel, and effectively deploy vaccines.” Said it.

“In the meantime, it’s fair to get help from companies not to make their own mistakes.”

The Australian unemployment union has blamed ACCI’s comments on JobSeeker’s payments and called them “ruthless and disruptive.”

“It’s cruel and unpleasant to suggest that people who are unemployed for three months can somehow live cheaper than those who are unemployed for 13 months,” said AUWU.

“I learned why the organizations that represent the most devastating pandemics of health services, charities, arts and ethical businesses are advocating the further destruction of people’s lives after these horrific years. I want to. “

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the increase in job seeker allowances strengthened the economy and helped recipients during the pandemic.

“This is one of the factors that are currently giving Australians such huge savings,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

“But there are many stories of employers struggling to get people to take on vacant jobs.”

Workers advocated a permanent increase in unemployment allowances, but refused to appoint numbers.

Opposition parties are set to put pressure on the coalition government over wage subsidies for JobSeeker and JobKeeper when Congress opens for a year on Tuesday.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is seeking targeted support for sectors such as tourism, which have been struggling since March.

“Continuing work or business is easier than seeing them collapse and then restarting,” he said.

Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said domestic tourism has shown a very strong recovery, but targeted temporary assistance is being considered.

“We’ll talk more about this in the coming weeks and months,” he told ABC.

-Use AAP

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