Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh has confirmed the party will not commit to an increase in JobSeeker payments if elected.
A previous plan to review the rate of unemployment benefits would also be abandoned, Dr Leigh told an online forum held by the Australian Council of Social Service on Tuesday.
ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie asked Dr Leigh to clarify Labor's position on whether JobSeeker payments should be increased, as voters head to the polls on May 21.
"We haven't committed to an additional increase," Dr Leigh responded.
He was further questioned about the Labor Party's position on an independent review of income support, and whether they would consider lifting JobSeeker payments as part of budget decisions.
In 2019, then-Labor leader Bill Shorten promised a review into the then-rate of Newstart allowance, suggesting that it would be used to assess an increase in the rate.
"We don't have a plan for an independent review at this stage," Dr Leigh said, adding that the party's focus would be around improving social housing.
The turnaround in Labor's policy was challenged by Dr Goldie.
She said there was "broad community consensus" about the need to fix the adequacy of income support, which was a "key cause of the level of poverty being experienced including amongst single parents, older women, people with a disability".
With the announcement of the federal election, ACOSS is calling for an increase of $70 a day for JobSeeker payments and a 50 per cent increase to Commonwealth rental assistance.
This story has been written in Ms Rahman's personal capacity.
Australian Associated Press
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