Business and social groups fear a snapback to the pre-virus JobSeeker level will hurt the economy and leave many households in hardship but the government also faces budget pressures with a record deficit of almost $200 billion forecast for this year.
Deloitte Access Economics estimates a permanent $80-a-fortnight increase in JobSeeker, if it included a similar-sized boost to the Youth Allowance, would cost about $2.7 billion this year.
Over three full years it would cost the budget more than $7.5 billion, with the annual extra cost falling as the jobless rate decreases.
A $160-a-fortnight increase in JobSeeker would cost the budget about $5.4 billion this year and a cumulative $15 billion to 2023-24. The extra cash would flow to…