Cash bonus Australia: Workers could receive one-time payment as petrol prices and cost of living rise


Australian workers could soon receive a one-time payment to help mitigate the impact of the rising cost of living as part of a federal government pre-election sweetener.

Record gasoline prices and the rising cost of living are putting pressure on households struggling to make ends meet.

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But as Australians prepare to vote in the next election, the government has hinted at a cash boost to help ease the pressures for Australians.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has promised the upcoming federal budget in March will bring “some relief” to Australian families struggling with the rising cost of living.

7NEWS understands that the aid will take the form of one-off bonuses for employees, which Mr Frydenberg said will be “temporary, targeted and commensurate with the challenge we face”.

“I think a lot of families are struggling right now,” Mr. Frydenberg said.

“And the number one topic around the kitchen table in Australia is the cost of living and so there will be some relief in that budget.”

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg addresses an event hosted by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday March 18, 2022. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Mr Frydenberg remains tight-lipped on when Australians will see the cash bonus and how much they should expect to get.

However, 7NEWS understands that the boost will be in people’s bank accounts ahead of the election.

“You can be sure he will reach into the bank accounts before the election to get as much political money as possible,” says Mark Riley.

“But voters often see these last-minute bonuses in the shadow of the election as acts of desperation. They will gladly take the money, but still vote as they intended.

It is understood that the bonuses will be paid through existing government programs by an agency such as the Australian Tax Office, with funds deposited directly into bank accounts ahead of the May election.

Welfare recipients and retirees are likely to miss out.

While Mr Frydenberg said more money would be poured into people’s pockets, he warned the government could no longer afford the levels of support it was providing at the height of the pandemic.

Mr Frydenberg said the next budget would reveal a trajectory where debt, relative to the size of the economy, would peak lower and earlier than expected in December last year.

“What we’re looking to do is … reduce those cost of living pressures by putting more money in people’s pockets,” he said on Friday.

The treasurer said the economic support deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic could not continue, with continued funding actually doing more harm than good.

“That would risk putting additional pressure on inflation, interest rates and the cost of living,” he said.

He promised that the government would not “integrate” any new structural spending on the back of temporary revenue increases.

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the federal government can’t trust what he says about the economy.

Dr Chalmers said the March 29 economic plan on the eve of an election showed ‘all the signs of another budget filled with secret slush funds before the election and secret cuts after’.

“This coalition government has next to nothing to show for the record debt it had already multiplied even before the pandemic,” he said.

“After a decade of marketing and mismanagement, the dividend for Australians is causing the cost of living to skyrocket, real wages to fall and families to fall further behind.”

Unemployment falls

It comes as the country’s unemployment rate fell to a new 13-year low, fueling economists’ expectations that the Reserve Bank of Australia could raise the cash rate sooner rather than later.

New figures released on Thursday show that the unemployment rate fell to 4% in Februaryagainst 4.2% in January.

This is the lowest rate since August 2008 and is expected to fall further.

“We expect Australia’s unemployment rate to reach 3.3% by the end of this year,” ANZ chief economist Catherine Birch told 7NEWS.

South Australia recorded the highest unemployment rate at 5%, followed by Queensland at 4.3%, Victoria (4.2), Western Australia (4.1), Tasmania (3.9) and New South Wales (3.7).

In the Northern Territory, unemployment reached 3.5% and 3% in the ACT.

A group of factory workers (file image)
Australia’s workforce also grew to 13,372,000, with 77,400 people finding jobs. Credit: AAP

Australia’s workforce also grew to 13,372,000, with 77,400 people finding jobs.

“We have more people of working age today than any other employment record in this country,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The biggest change has been in jobs for women, with the unemployment rate for women falling to 3.8%, the lowest since 1974.

The rate for men also dropped to 4.2%.

“We’ve had greater job growth in this country during the pandemic than any of the G7 countries, the most advanced economies in the world,” Morrison said.

– With PAA


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