JobSeeker & JobKeeper changes – ABC Gippsland

But let’s talk JobSeeker and JobKeeper right now. So if you’re on either of those, like more than one point six million Australians, I’ve got some news for you – the rates are about to decrease. So under the new temporary arrangements that rate of JobKeeper will be $1200 per fortnight for people working 20 hours or more per week, $750 dollars per fortnight for people who were employed for fewer than 20 hours a week, and from Friday if you’re on JobSeeker and you’re single with no dependents, you will get $815. You can also earn up to $300 dollars per fortnight. Federal Liberal Social Services Minister Anne Ruston is here with us to explain all of this. Good morning.

MINISTER RUSTON:

Good morning, Amber.

AMBER IRVING-GUTHRIE:

Thanks for being here. Okay, so business groups and the Australian Council of Social Services want the base rates of these payments lifted to keep families out of poverty. Have you listened to their arguments?

MINISTER RUSTON:

Well clearly, the decision that was made back in July, that comes into effect this Friday, was to extend additional levels of support to Australians that find themselves out of work or with reduced hours. So the extension of the JobKeeper payments through until March at the rates as you mentioned – $1200 for full time workers, or $750 for part time workers – and equally the coronavirus supplement that has been a part of the JobSeeker payment for the last six months will be extended through till Christmas. But also, we’re trying to incentivise people to start looking for jobs. But clearly, in Victoria we understand, particularly metropolitan Melbourne, that that’s going to be particularly difficult. So that’s why we have put in place these measures that allow people who find themselves with lower rates of income on their JobKeeper payments, or just from working – we’re encouraging them to test their eligibility to see if they might be able to get a top up from JobSeeker as well.

AMBER IRVING-GUTHRIE:

All right. So lots think about. It can be quite complex, can’t it, if you think about the different payments someone could be eligible for. If you’re on JobSeeker, the mutual obligations, the mandatory job searching requirements will resume by the end of this month. So what do you take into account when you made that decision?

MINISTER RUSTON:

Well in the case of Victoria, because we understand that there’s still some very severe lock downs in Victoria, there are no mutual obligation requirements for Victorians who are unemployed since coming into effect. The rest of Australia will have mutual obligations reintroduced on Friday, but Victoria we’ll continue to assess the situation there. And until the market has opened up and we’ve seen the jobs market open up Victorians will know it will not be required to undertake mutual obligations.

AMBER IRVING-GUTHRIE:

And we’ve got an unemployment rate of 9.3 per cent in Victoria, and that doesn’t take into account underemployment as well – so people who might wish they worked full time but they can only work part time. We’re in a recession, it’s a tough time right now. Realistically, how hard is it to be a job seeker at the moment?

MINISTER RUSTON:

Well clearly all Australians have been impacted terribly by the coronavirus pandemic right across the country, from all areas, all walks of life, all industries and all sectors. And so we understand that it is very difficult. We’ve put in place over $300 billion worth of support for people, for businesses, the sectors and across the whole economy to try and cushion it from the blow of the pandemic. But we realise the pandemic is far from over and that’s why we will continue to make sure that there is a safety net, through our social security system, for people who’ve lost their jobs, have had reduced hours or reduced income because we understand that if we can keep people supported through this tough time – hopefully as the economy opens up, and hopefully sooner rather than later in Victoria after the promising news this morning – that we can actually get them back to the jobs that they had before the pandemic hit.

AMBER IRVING-GUTHRIE:

Well thanks for explaining that. I really appreciate your time. Senator Anne Ruston there, she’s the Federal Social Services Minister and just talking through the changes to JobSeeker or JobKeeper at the moment. So under the new temporary arrangements, the rate of JobSeeker will be 1200 per fortnight for people working 20 hours or more and- per week, and 750 per fortnight for people who were employed for fewer than 20 hours a week. So that might be you.

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