Peter Dutton has offered an alternative to Labour’s JobSeeker cash splash – allowing recipients to earn more money at work without cutting their Social Security benefits.
The opposition leader argues that his policy would provide an incentive for benefit recipients to return to work, easing the burden on taxpayers.
In Tuesday night’s budget, Treasurer Jim Chalmers revealed a cash increase of $40 every two weeks for 1.1 million welfare recipients.
The Youth Benefit, Parental Benefit (partner), Austudy, ABSTUDY, the WAO pension (Youth) and the special benefit will increase by the same amount from September 2023.
Currently, payments for a single adult with no dependent children are $693.10 every two weeks, or $49.50 a day, and slightly less for those with a live-in relationship.
Peter Dutton has offered an alternative to Labour’s targeted JobSeeker cash splash, allowing recipients to earn more money at work without cutting their Social Security benefits
Those with dependent children or who are over age 60 currently receive $745.20 every two weeks, or $53.22 per day. Dr. Chalmers lowered the age requirement to 55 for the higher pay.
Mr Dutton revealed in his budget response on Thursday that the coalition would not support the proposed changes.
“We think it’s a better approach to have people on JobSeeker benefits work, say, 5 to 10 hours every two weeks,” he said.
“It would put them in a lot of extra cash, compared to the $40 the government is offering.”
As it stands, JobSeeker recipients face a reduction in their payments if they or their romantic partner earn more than $150 in two weeks.
Under Mr. Dutton’s plan, a jobseeker could earn significantly more – up to $213 more in two weeks if they are on minimum wage – without their Social Security benefits being cut.
The opposition leader said there are more than 400,000 vacancies in Australia that could be filled.
“We think it’s a better approach to have people on JobSeeker pay work 5-10 hours every two weeks, for example,” said Mr Dutton.
The policy proposed by Mr Dutton would allow job seekers to work more hours without affecting their benefits
Mr Dutton argued that employment decisions made in the budget ‘risk creating a generation of working poor Australians’.
And Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume spoke out Friday morning in favor of the coalition-recommended change, saying she thinks ‘the government will see the light here’.
“There are big benefits to encouraging people to work more, to take them out of social security and get them into work,” she said.
The modest increase in the number of job seekers proposed by the government has sparked fierce debate from all sides in politics.
Many stakeholders argue that lifting the country’s most vulnerable out of poverty does little and that the increase should be significantly higher.
But critics have suggested little support in the budget for central Australians or blue-collar workers, and have called for stricter regulation to prevent people from cheating the system.
There was even more outrage after a couple appeared on JobSeeker on the ABC to discuss their reasons for not working full-time.
Dr. Chalmers said Tuesday night his budget would “help those who need it most” — unveiling a $3.5 billion plan to help 12 million Aussies see a doctor for free under Medicare and a $500 annual utility bill package for households earning less than between $108,000 and $117,000.
In Tuesday night’s budget, Treasurer Jim Chalmers revealed a $40 biweekly cash increase for 1.1 million welfare recipients
Rather than handing out money to Australian workers and the middle class, the government chose to focus on programs and services that benefit the community.
These include cheaper medicines and childcare for some families, higher salaries for caregivers and help for Aussies struggling to break into the housing market – including allowing more Australians to buy a house with smaller deposits.
But hidden in the plan were some nasty shocks to taxpayers, including confirmation that he will abolish the Lower and Middle Income Tax (LMITO, or ‘Lamington’ Compensation) – which will cost around 10 million Australians up to $1,500 at tax time, despite rising cost of living.
Meanwhile, smokers will be stabbed with higher prices, the stage three tax cuts due to take effect in the middle of next year aren’t going anywhere – mainly benefiting Australians earning more than $200,000 – and voluntary contributions to super will be taxed at 30 per cent after the balances reached $3 million.
In a speech announcing his budget on Tuesday evening, Dr Chalmers said he was desperately trying not to increase inflationary pressures – with a consumer price index of seven per cent.
“This budget has been carefully calibrated to alleviate inflationary pressures, not to amplify them,” said Dr Chalmers.
“The pressure on the budget is acute – but as a Labor government we will always strive to help those who need it most.”
Dr. Chalmers previously described the budget as one of Labour’s “finest traditions” – targeting “the vulnerable… who invest in the future of our country and its people”.
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