People on the dole will have to apply for up to eight jobs a month and accept any work on offer to qualify for JobSeeker handouts, Scott Morrison says.
The Morrison government has vowed to tighten JobSeeker eligibility from September 28 in a bid to encourage Australians to go back to work.
People who don’t play by the rules face having their payments suspended, while those who are on JobSeeker for a year will have to undertake work to receive dole payments, The Australian reported.
Millions were forced to apply for welfare when lockdown shut down businesses across the nation in March.
While payments were boosted and rules were relaxed as the number of unemployed Australians surged, tougher regulations are now gradually being reintroduced as virus cases continue to fall and the jobs market shows signs of a faint recovery.
New official figures on Thursday showed that the unemployment rate fell from 7.5 per cent to 6.8 per cent as 111,000 were created last month.
In July 2019, 686,156 Australians were on the dole. By the end of July 2020, that figure had jumped to 1.45 million.
Scott Morrison said on Thursday that the government would like to see the rate of unemployment ‘come down’ further.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the mutual obligations are designed to ensure jobseekers get jobs in areas of high demand.
‘The government is focused on getting Australians off welfare and into work and ensuring they remain connected with the labour market,’ Senator Cash said.
Dole recipients were under no obligation to apply for jobs during the height of the pandemic, when benefits payments of JobSeeker and the coronavirus supplement allowed the most hard-up Australians to claim up to $1,340.10 a fortnight from the government.
Most claimants receive about $1,100 a fortnight.
The payments will drop by $300 on September 25, and again by $200 after December 31.
The supplement will be removed entirely by the end of the year, leaving people on JobSeeker on the old Newstart rate of $40 per day.
More than 12 per cent of Queenslanders and South Australians rely on handouts.
Nine per cent of people in New South Wales are dependent on government support, along with ten per cent of Western Australians, 13 per cent of Tasmanians and ten per cent of Victorians.
Video: JobKeeper and JobSeeker ‘critical for keeping unemployment numbers low’ (Sky News Australia)