Is the $50 a fortnight JobSeeker rise too much, too little or about right?
STEPHANIE: This is a smack in the face to the thousands of people doing it tough right now. With the cost of living continuing to skyrocket, a less than $4 a day increase will barely make a difference to those who rely on it to survive. The government is happy to boast about Australia’s prosperity, except when it comes to this.
HAYDEN: While the increase is welcome, our unemployment payments remain grossly unfair. Politicians can claim $280 per day to stay in Canberra during a sitting week but a person on JobSeeker benefits receives just $300 per week. Struggling Australians need more, but with this slight increase blowing a $9bn hole in the budget over four years, any increase must be met with tough application criteria. The government has struck the right balance by requiring recipients to search for at least 15 jobs each month from April, rising to 20 from July 1. MICHAEL: I think, with some hesitation, it’s just about right. The amount of money that has flowed out of the federal Treasury in the past 12 months is astronomical. As a nation, we can’t just go on creating money out of thin air. I think it would be near impossible to have any kind of normal life on unemployment benefits, but an increase of $50 a fortnight might bring some relief.
VERDICT: Always a tough juggling act and a little may not go a long way.