Budget 2018

Turnbull defends no dole rise in budget


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has explained why his government didn't increase the Newstart allowance in this year's budget.

Malcolm Turnbull has defended his government's decision not to increase unemployment benefits in this year's federal budget.

There was no new rise in the Newstart allowance despite calls from economists, advocacy groups and the Business Council of Australia.

"They are increased every year with inflation and you have to remember that it is a safety net to support people while they are looking for jobs," the prime minister told the Seven Network on Wednesday.

He later told Sky News that "the vast majority of people on Newstart" also received other government benefits.

"We believe the setting is right. It is a safety net."

Key crossbench senator Tim Storer said the government should have listened to the calls for an increase in the $39-a-day Newstart.

"What is also disappointing to me is the lack of focus on the very disadvantaged, in this case the unemployed," he told ABC TV.

He said it should be a focus of politicians to help people get back into work.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor would review the Newstart payment if it wins the next election.

"Clearly, there is a challenge there," he told Seven.

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