Australians relying on unemployment payment JobSeeker will be left below the poverty line even after the new increase is taken into account, with social services groups warning the loss of the coronavirus supplement will leave households struggling to afford necessities.
Research from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre has found the federal government’s lift in the fortnightly dole to $615.70 from $565.70, excluding an upcoming increase for inflation, will mean single people who do not have children will be left $166 short of the poverty line on the base rate. For this analysis the researchers defined the poverty level as half the average income for comparable households.
The Morrison government revealed a permanent increase in JobSeeker worth $50 a fortnight on Tuesday, which was below the expectations of many welfare groups. The base rate increase means households currently relying on the dole will see a cut in their household budget due to the simultaneous loss of the more generous $150 a fortnight coronavirus supplement after March.
The extra fortnightly amount will cost taxpayers $528 million in the three months from April 2021 and $1.8 billion over the first 12 months of the scheme, the Curtin researchers found. The total cost of the scheme, including the full base rate, was estimated to cost $20.5 billion in the first year.