Newstart rise bad for budget: Liberal MP

Liberal MP Julian Leeser is cautioning against raising the Newstart allowance.
Liberal MP Julian Leeser is cautioning against raising the Newstart allowance.

An increase to the dole would have a major implication for the budget bottom line at a time when there is a need for strong fiscal management, a Liberal backbencher warns.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week again batted away calls for an increase to Newstart - even from former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce - saying the unemployment benefit will continue to be adjusted with inflation every six months.

Liberal MP Julian Leeser agreed, saying the best thing the government can do is to get people off Newstart and into jobs.

He noted that while Labor went to the recent election saying it would review Newstart, it hadn't budgeted for any increase in their election costings.

"This has a major implication on the budget bottom line. We need to maintain strong fiscal management here," Mr Leeser told ABC television on Saturday.

He said people on Newstart are also getting some form of assistance payment, such as a parenting payment or a rental assistance payment.

But Labor's families and social service spokeswoman Linda Burney said the idea that Newstart recipients get all these additional supplements is "pretty false".

"Our figures say that about 51 per cent of people on Newstart don't get any supplementation," she told ABC television.

She also said one in four people on Newstart are over the age of 55 and don't fit the stereotype that most people on Newstart are young.

"They've been retrenched or their industry has closed down. Now, for those people, it's virtually impossible to see a future where they're going to be re-employed," Ms Burney said of older Newstart recipients.

The outspoken Mr Joyce joined a growing list urging the first increase in Newstart for 25 years, including welfare and business groups, economists and the Reserve Bank.

Australian Associated Press