Unemployed Australians will continue to receive boosted JobSeeker payments into next year.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday announced the scheme would continue to be supplemented through to March 2021.
The elevated rate – from $550 per fortnight to $800 – was due to end at the beginning of next year.
But Morrison announced it would instead be extended for three months, albeit at a lower rate.
Lowering the supplement to an additional $150 per fortnight would encourage people to actively seek work, he said.
“We cannot stay stuck in neutral in this country, we have got to keep moving forward,” he said.
“Like the emblems on our national crest, the kangaroo and the emu, they only go forward, and that can be the only plan for Australia.”
However, he did not rule out an extension beyond March.
“We haven’t made a final decision on that.
“What we are focused on right now is the emergency measures that need to be in place for the pandemic.
“Right now what matters is the supports that will continue to be provided at these elevated and temporary levels. That is where we have applied the focus.”
JobSeeker was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic to supplement people who lost their job.
It initially doubled the $550 fortnightly payment before being reduced in September.
The extension until the end of March means it will line up with the earmarked end of JobKeeper.