In our post-COVID economy, Australia needs a ‘liveable income guarantee’

1 Jul 2020

There are now less than three months to go before the expanded JobSeeker payment is due to end. As a result, there is a growing political debate about what should happen to the unemployment payment that was roughly doubled in April.

While the government is reportedly considering a revamp of both the JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments, we believe a much broader rethink is needed of the way we provide income support to people without a market income.

Instead of an unemployment payment - or the dole - we need a liveable income guarantee.

It’s increasingly clear a “snapback” to the pre-pandemic way of doing things is not realistic.

people waiting in line in the rainThe recent upsurge in coronavirus cases reminds us the new normal will see all sorts of economic and social activity constrained and subject to sudden lockdowns.

As a June Grattan Institute report has also shown, we need more fiscal stimulus, not a return to pre-pandemic fixations on debt and deficits.

On top of this, we have also seen grim announcements of job cuts at Qantas, the sale of Virgin and other well-known brands collapsing. Many smaller businesses will follow their lead.

Thousands of hardworking Australians, many of whom have never been unemployed before, will be thrown out of work - some of them for a long time.

We need a new unemployment system for a new reality.

Read the full article at The Conversation.