1 May 2013

Rise in unemployment benefits urged

1:07 pm on 1 May 2013

Community groups, churches and unions in Australia have written an open letter to the federal government, calling for unemployment benefits to be increased by $A50 per week.

Signatories include the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, World Vision, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the YMCA, YWCA, Mission Australia, the Australian Council of Social Service and the National Welfare Rights Network.

An online advertising campaign has also been launched.

The amount currently paid to those looking for work is $A35 per day.

The ABC reports that debate over the level of unemployment benefits has reached a point where groups across the spectrum support an increase of $A50 per week.

Australian Youth Affairs Coalition executive director Andrew Cummings said the dole is so low it makes it hard for jobseekers to buy the basics needed to look presentable for job interviews.

"Those items are just unaffordable and it means people are regularly being turned away from jobs, or job interviews," he said.

The Business Council of Australia has previously backed a $50 rise, but the ABC reports that support may be tested by Monday's announcement of a budget shortfall of $A12 billion.