JobSeeker will be extended until the end of March 2021 but at a reduced rate

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The Federal Government will extend the JobSeeker unemployment benefit — at a lower rate — until the end of March 2021.

The $815 a fortnight payment will be reduced to $715 a fortnight from December.

The Government added a coronavirus supplement onto the JobSeeker payment at the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

That fortnightly supplement, initially $550 and currently $250, was due to expire at Christmas but will now be extended by three months.

“Today’s announcement… will see more and more businesses and Australians graduate from the economic supports that were so essential over these many months,” Mr Morrison said.

The coronavirus supplement is also paid to people on parenting payments and eight other income support payments, including Youth Allowance and Farm Household Allowance.

The JobSeeker payment replaced the former Newstart unemployment benefit.

Having faced years of criticism for the pre-pandemic rate of about $40 a day, the Government is yet to announce a new permanent rate for JobSeeker.

Mr Morrison said the Government would consider a new permanent JobSeeker rate “at a later time.”

“What we are focused on right now is the emergency measures that need to be in place for the pandemic,” he said.

Mr Morrison said the supplement extension would cost the budget an extra $3.2 billion.

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