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Treasurer to reassess COVID payments as 1m Aussies are locked out, but JobKeeper is ruled out

  • July 27 2021
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Treasurer to reassess COVID payments as 1m Aussies are locked out, but JobKeeper is ruled out

By Cameron Micallef
July 27 2021

With over 1 million Australians currently in lockdown without additional support, the Treasurer has conceded he will assess the current payment packages, but has blatantly refused to yield to pressure and reinstate JobKeeper.

Treasurer to assess JobSeeker payments

Treasurer to reassess COVID payments as 1m Aussies are locked out, but JobKeeper is ruled out

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  • July 27 2021
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With over 1 million Australians currently in lockdown without additional support, the Treasurer has conceded he will assess the current payment packages, but has blatantly refused to yield to pressure and reinstate JobKeeper.

Treasurer to assess JobSeeker payments

Although admitting that the government is conscious that as many as 1 million people are not receiving adequate financial aid, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said at a press conference on Monday that while options are being explored, the reinstatement of JobKeeper is not one of them.

Currently on offer, the government’s disaster payments mean workers are receiving either $600 or $375 per week depending on the number of paid hours they’ve lost.

According to Mr Frydenberg, more than 700,000 payments have now been processed by Services Australia at a cost of over $350 million.

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However, with lockdowns now impacting Aussies outside of NSW, in South Australia and Victoria, ACOSS has estimated that over 1 million people have been forbidden from accessing financial aid because they are on a social security payment, despite many having lost part-time paid work.

Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said these are mostly students, older women and single parents who have been hit hard by this pandemic.

“Many have lost part-time paid work that they relied on to cover the rent, with social security payments like JobSeeker and Youth Allowance being well below the poverty line,” Dr Goldie said.

The ACOSS is not alone in campaigning for the increase in JobSeeker as the NSW lockdown fails to yield the desired results.

Despite louder calls for more federal support, the Treasurer on Monday praised his government. But while he did not make any promises, Mr Frydenberg appeared to be leaving the window slightly ajar by refusing to rule out further help.

“We never know what is around the corner with this pandemic. There are new challenges each and every day. That is why we plan for those contingencies,” he said.

“Our policies are never set and forget. You never know what is around the corner, you need to be flexible, you need to respond to changing circumstances.

“We continue to assess all our payments, both business and income support, and determine the right payments for the right circumstances.”

The Treasurer did, however, reject calls for the reinstatement of JobKeeper.

“We are seeing with a lengthy lockdown in NSW, and the payments we are rolling out, they are faster than what occurred under JobKeeper,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“The payments are being made in about 40 minutes.”

As expected, the opposition has sided with business groups who are lobbying for the wage subsidy’s return.

Speaking to Today show’s host Karl Stefanovic on Monday, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese slammed Scott Morrison.

“Small businesses – they‘re doing it so tough. People are losing their jobs. We need to give more support to individuals as well as to small business,” Mr Albanese said.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has also appealed for the reintroduction of the wage subsidy.

However, despite a prolonged lockdown in NSW, as things currently stand Mr Frydenberg's mind appears to be made up. 

Treasurer to reassess COVID payments as 1m Aussies are locked out, but JobKeeper is ruled out
Treasurer to assess JobSeeker payments
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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