Resume writers and employment specialists know that JobKeeper and the raised JobSeeker income is keeping the wolf from the door for many South Australian families.
Top economists want the dole permanently increased in 2021 and a review of JobKeeper to determine the future of the $100 billion lifeline.
The two major support schemes are the centrepiece of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic but both are being phased down in January.
The payments will be reviewed before they end late in March.
Former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser said there needed to be a 50 per cent to 100 per cent increase in the permanent level of JobSeeker.
“The jobs need to be there and [government] spending on all sorts of things like social housing,” he said. “In the meanwhile there needs to be a respectable increase.”
Unemployment payments before the pandemic were worth $565.70 a fortnight but were bolstered with an additional $550 fortnightly payment in late March.
This supplement was dropped back to $250 in September and will be reduced further to $150 on January 1.
JobKeeper has also been reduced. The scheme originally provided employers with $1500-a-fortnight per employee to keep staff connected to their workplace.
It was extended in late September at reduced rates worth $1200 for full-time workers and $750 for part-timers. From January 4, this will drop again to $1000 and $650 respectively before ending in March.
University of Melbourne Professor Allan Fels, former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said JobSeeker should not return to “inadequate” pre-pandemic levels.
“The question of when JobKeeper is phased out… it depends on the circumstances,” Professor Fels said. “It depends on the state of the economy and it’s hard to say at this point.”
University of Queensland Professor John Quiggin said JobSeeker should be returned to the same level as the age pension. The age pension is worth $860.60-a-fortnight for a single person.