(Australian Associated Press)
A decision on the rate of JobSeeker is expected to be made by early December, with the government hinting elevated levels will continue.
Unemployment Australians are receiving $250 more a fortnight than usual with the coronavirus supplement.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said a decision would be made based on economic conditions.
“If the evidence supports the continuation of elevated levels of support, they will be made available to Australians who need them,” she told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday
“I think the prime minister made it very clear and provided certainty to Australians that on the 1st of January there is very likely to be continued elevated levels of support, recognising that we still are in a pandemic and we still don’t know when this pandemic is going to end.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday gave his strongest indication yet the coronavirus supplement could be extended into next year.
“I have been clear and leant into it pretty heavily that people can expect the COVID supplement to be going forward beyond the end of this year,” he told parliament.
“The precise level and the arrangements that sit around that are matters the government is considering now and will be doing so over the next few weeks.”
The $250 a fortnight coronavirus supplement shrunk from $550 at the height of the pandemic.
The boost is due to end in December and the government would have to legislate a further extension.
Mr Morrison said a decision would be made before parliament rises for the year on December 10 so it can be stamped into law.
Without the coronavirus supplement, the dole payment would return to its pre-pandemic rate of $40 a day.
“Living without a job would be extremely difficult for any Australian,” Senator Ruston conceded.