Senate Estimates questioning from Greens Senator Janet Rice has revealed that there was no formal review into the rate of Jobseeker before Labor’s first budget, despite it being a commitment in their National Plan to end violence against women and children 2022-23.
When questioned about their commitment to “review the adequacy of the JobSeeker payment at each Budget”, head of Department of Social Services Ray Griggs revealed that as far as the engagement of the Department of Social Security was concerned this ‘review’ only amounted to an ‘informal discussion’ with Minister Rishworth.
Government Senator Tim Ayres also confirmed that there is no intention to introduce a formal review process to consider raising income support payment before future budgets.
Senator Rice said:
“The Government’s failure to meet their commitment to review Jobseeker before the budget is a kick in the guts for the hundreds of thousands of Australians scraping by on payments well below the poverty line.
“An informal discussion between a Minister and head of Department is not a review. A review should include consultation with experts, stakeholders and those with lived experience, as well as criteria and benchmarks to assess whether changes should be made.
“It is beyond disappointing to hear that there are no commitments to undergo any formal reviews before future budgets.”
“We need all income support payments lifted above the poverty line, but this government won't even commit to a formal review of the current Jobseeker rate.
“Poverty is a political choice. Right now millions of people are living in poverty and struggling to get by, while Labor spends over a quarter of a trillion dollars on Stage 3 tax cuts for politicians and billionaires.”