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No dole payment rise on horizon

AAP logoAAP 20/09/2016 Paul Osborne

An increase in the rate of the dole is not on the Turnbull government's radar.

Welfare groups have long argued unemployed people cannot live on the $38 a day Newstart Allowance and a rise is justified.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said while Newstart was a "modest payment", boosting it by $53 a week as proposed by the Australian Council of Social Service would cost taxpayers an extra $7.7 billion.

"So we either borrow that money or we tax someone $7.7 billion," Mr Porter told the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday.

Australian Social Services Minister Christian Porter addresses the National Press Club in Canberra. © AAP Image/Lukas Coch Australian Social Services Minister Christian Porter addresses the National Press Club in Canberra. He said he would accept the argument for a rise if most of the 768,000 recipients were living off $38 a day.

But he quoted statistics showing 75 per cent of Newstart recipients get two other payment types and 20 per cent get another payment type.

"Only five per cent get just Newstart, only five per cent face that adequacy scenario," he said.

Further, 96 per cent of people move off Newstart within six months, leaving only 1500 people facing the prospect of the $38 a day payment for the long term.

The minister said the fact that most Newstart recipients were on it for a short period of time showed the system was working "because the encouragement is there to move off those payments quickly".

ACOSS chief Cassandra Goldie said keeping the dole at its current level was "unconscionable".

She argues the payment should rise so people can "live with dignity while looking for work".

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