JobSeeker & JobKeeper changes – Triple M Melbourne

And Senator Anne Ruston joins us this morning, the Minister for Families and Social Services. Senator Ruston, thank you so much for joining us on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast. Good morning to you.

MINISTER RUSTON:

Hi. How are you guys.

EDDIE MCGUIRE:

We’re well. Hey, Anne, could you take us through what’s going on with work cover – sorry, JobKeeper and JobSeeker? Two amazing programs that have been pushed forward which have just really taken so much of the pain out of people’s lives but there’s going to be an adjustment on the 28th of September. So just take us through what it actually means.

MINISTER RUSTON:

Okay. On the 28th of September, we’re stepping down both of the programs so people who are on JobSeeker will – their supplement will drop from 550 to 250 but it will be extended through till the end of the year. And people on JobKeeper will also see a reduction in their payments that they’re getting by their employers from $1500 a fortnight to $1200. And what we particularly wanted to let people in Victoria know is that if they do find themselves on a JobKeeper payment or they have their hours reduced, they may still be eligible to go into a JobSeeker as well to boost their payments on a fortnightly basis.

EDDIE MCGUIRE:

Okay. So just, let’s go that last paragraph, if we could, Senator Ruston. Just explain that to us again, because clearly, Victoria’s different to everyone else because we’re in further lockdowns compared to the other states that are actually back working which we’re going to talk about in a few months’ time. So how does it work for us?

MINISTER RUSTON:

Okay. So basically, somebody in Victoria who’s on a JobKeeper payment of $1500 and now, they’re dropping down to $1200 and their employer isn’t able to provide them any additional funding, they’ll be able to top up that payment by going onto JobSeeker. So say, for instance, you know, a single person with no children who’s on $1200 JobKeeper would probably be eligible for another $276 per fortnight on JobSeeker but they’re also eligible for all the other payments that are available to people who are on payment like they may be eligible for rent assistance or a healthcare card. So what we’re saying to people in Victoria is if you think that you are going to be significantly impacted by this drop, then test your eligibility to maybe get the top up payment through the social security system.

EDDIE MCGUIRE:

Speaking to Senator Anne Ruston, who is the Minister for Families the Social Services, in charge of JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments which a lot of people will be listening to very, very closely at the moment. Lot of hardship out there, Anne, and a lot of industries in particular have been damaged by this more than others. Have you thought about making this industry specific going forward?

MINISTER RUSTON:

Well we’ve certainly given industry specific support across the country. There’ve been many packages put in place, for instance, the art sector, to the aviation sector, to the travel sector and the tourism sector through other means, by providing grants and support to the businesses. But this is a nationwide program which has to be universal but because we understand that Victoria’s doing it so much tougher than the rest of the country, that’s why we wanted to make sure this morning, that people understood that at the end of the week when the payment drops, the JobKeeper payment drops, that there is additional support out there for them.

EDDIE MCGUIRE:

That’s right. Well today’s the 21st. It is the 28th of September this comes up, so you’ve got this week to get yourself. Senator Ruston, what should people do? Should they go- what part of the Commonwealth set up do we need to go to get this organised so that there’s no lag time for people who’ll have their money reduced to get them back to the right spot?

MINISTER RUSTON:

Yeah. Well the most- the easiest place for them to go is just to go onto the Australian Government website online or equally that they can call which is – or go into their myGov account because I would imagine many …

EDDIE MCGUIRE:

[Talks over] Yeah. Right. Okay.

MINISTER RUSTON:

… myGov account as well.

EDDIE MCGUIRE:

Okay.

LUKE DARCY:

Well if people have found that [indistinct]…

EDDIE MCGUIRE:

So if I could just underline that, Darce, so go to the myGov account; that’s the way to do it. And I suggest you really get stuck into it in the next couple of days to make sure everything’s right. Sorry, Darce, go on.

LUKE DARCY:

I just want to ask you about the process, Senator Ruston. There’s a lot of people have found that really onerous and to understand, you’ve had more people come into social services than ever in Australia’s history. Have you got some news on that? There’s been huge delays I’ve been told in the past. Are you comfortable with the processing of being able to get these payments to people?

MINISTER RUSTON:

Well look, absolutely. I mean clearly when we were first went into the COVID lockdown, there was a massive surge. We’ve subsequently put on many thousands of extra staff. We’ve streamlined how people are able to get access to payment; we’re not requiring them to provide anywhere near the level of detail because we understand that when people need this support, they need it straight away.

EDDIE MCGUIRE:

Good on you, Senator Ruston. We really appreciate you coming on this morning and outlining what’s going on.

MINISTER RUSTON:

Thanks so much. All the best.

EDDIE MCGUIRE:

Good on you. Senator Anne Ruston joining us, the Minister for Families and Social Services.

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