JobSeeker was never meant to be a permanent source of income, but it is meant to be a support mechanism to help affected Australians as they seek employment.
It is realistic to expect those receiving the benefit will do what they can to find that next job, thereby removing themselves from the welfare stream and the burden of taxpayers, but it is also beholden on governments to do all they can to stimulate employment and provide an environment where jobs are more plentiful.
There will always be people critical of the increase in JobSeeker announced yesterday. Some will say it's not enough and others it's too much. More importantly, we need to ensure it does not take this long to achieve any further increase in the minimum benefit we provide to out of work Australians.
At almost nine per cent, the $50 per fortnight increase in JobSeeker is better than what most working Australians would reasonably expect to receive as a pay increase any time soon, but the reality is, this nine per cent rise has been approximately 20 years in the making, and that simply isn't good enough.
But given the background against which yesterday's historic announcement was made, on the back of a global pandemic and the associated financial implications our economy will take decades to recover from, the extra support cannot be easily dismissed.
For its part, the government has also promised to tighten the screws on JobSeeker eligibility in the belief not everyone who receives the benefit should, and that taxpayers are owed an accountability for how the government distributes funding.
But on a day where international ratings agency Moody's downgraded Victoria's rating to AA1 and changed its financial outlook to "negative", no one should forget how difficult the financial path that lies ahead really is, or just how hard it is going to be for any level of government to balance the books and keep expenditure under control.
Moody's blames Victoria's huge post-pandemic debt bill for the downgrade, which according to treasury is forecast to triple to a whopping $154.8 billion in 2023/24.
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