Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan had been pushing for unemployment benefits to be increased before the pandemic hit.
Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan had been pushing for unemployment benefits to be increased before the pandemic hit.

MP vows to push for JobSeeker increase ’into the future’

FEDERAL MP Pat Conaghan has vowed that he will continue to advocate for JobSeeker payments to remain at an increase of $405 per week "into the future." 

Mr Conaghan made the comment while welcoming the extension of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker Covid-19 support measures announced this week.

In February, the Nationals MP had broken ranks to call for unemployment benefits to be increased by $75 a week.

Those on JobSeeker will now continue to receive the Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight until September 25, and then $250 per fortnight until the end of December.

Mr Conaghan said that for those on JobSeeker, this in "real terms" means it is an increase of $125 per week from the previous Newstart rate to around $405 per week.

"This is more than the recommendation of the NSW Council of Social Service late last year to increase payments by $75-95 per week," he said.

"I will continue to advocate for this level of support into the future.

"Our region is going through a one in one hundred year event and about 26 per cent of employment locally comes from the hardest hit sectors of hospitality and tourism, so this support is vitally needed."

Mr Conaghan added that the extension of JobKeeper to the end of March will be a relief for the 5,300 businesses in Cowper and their employees that currently receive the payments.

"As the economy reopens the JobKeeper payment will be tapered in the December and March quarters to encourage businesses to adjust to the new environment. It will ensure those businesses that need support to continue will be able to receive it during this time."

The extension of JobKeeper is estimated to cost $16 billion.



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