No moves on Newstart
Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to resist plans to increase the dole.
Labor and other parties have been pushing for an increase to the Newstart allowance from its current level of $555.70 a fortnight for a single person without children.
Mr Morrison says he is keeping the current method of six-monthly indexation of Newstart.
“That is the process we will continue to follow in relation to those social security payments,” he said this week, pointing out that neither the Coalition nor Labor had increasing Newstart as a recent election platform.
Labor vowed to review the Newstart payment if it won the federal election in May.
A raft of economists, business and social services groups want more money for people looking for work, noting that Newstart has not increased in real terms for more than two decades.
Independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie says a Newstart rise would have broad benefits.
“There are so many problems that can be addressed in part by lifting Newstart,” he told Sky News.
“It helps solve the housing crisis, it helps people have the money to see their GP to stay out of hospital, so it takes the pressure off the hospital.”
The Centre Alliance – major political proponents of a Newstart increase – is looking for other ways to lift payments.
“People like Jacqui Lambie and Centre Alliance can work together. We both have a similar view about Newstart,” Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick said this week.
“We'll be looking at ways we can put pressure on the government moving forward to address that area, because it is problematic.”
Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek still wants an inquiry.
“It's really something we need to look at,” she told Sky News.