Job seekers will get little financial relief from the Budget.
Job seekers will get little financial relief from the Budget. Kevin Farmer

No increase for job seekers as Bundy ranks third for dole

BUNDABERG'S Newstart allowance position has improved once again, with the region ditching its dole capital title for the third-highest spot within two quarters.

But despite the decrease in ranks, the total number of recipients has risen from 3783 people in the September quarter to 4080 in December, thousands of people in the region who did not see much short-term benefit from the Federal Budget 2019/20.

The announcement of the Budget on Tuesday not only excluded people on Newstart from the one-off energy assistance payment that would see singles receive $75 and couples receive $125, but also excluded them from any increase whatsoever.

However, the Federal Government quickly reversed its decision not to include them in the one-off payment, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announcing the extension of the payments early yesterday morning.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison denied the decision was an afterthought, and told ABD radio "we're just getting it done”.

People on Newstart receive $538.80 per fortnight, and calls had been made for the government to raise the "unnecessarily cruel” amount.

Despite these calls, the government has decided not to raise the allowance, which has barely changed for more than 25 years.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the best thing for people on Newstart was to ensure there's a job for them to go to.

"The stronger our regional economy, the more jobs that are available, the more likely it is they will receive employment, and the can do whatever they wish with their own money,” Mr Pitt said.

"We have strength regionally and I am absolutely focused on driving down our unemployment rate.”

He said while the Labor party wanted to increase taxes and take money from individuals and retirees, the Coalition wanted to "give people more of their own money to spend in the way they want”.

Labor's candidate for Hinkler Richard Pascoe said his party was committed to review the Newstart paryments, and acknowledged that the current payment amount was too low.

"But we want to examine the tax and transfer system and make sure we get it right,” Mr Pascoe said.