Premier Peter Gutwein has claimed that Tasmanian businesses are having issues getting staff to "return to work" because of the increased level of welfare payments during COVID.
He made the comments in Tuesday morning's estimates hearings, based upon conversations he has had with businesses across Tasmania.
When asked whether the government would support the Raise the Rate for Good campaign given the budget's forecast of an 8.5 per cent unemployment rate, Mr Gutwein said he had heard concerns.
"One of the key things that we've got to understand is the return to work," he said.
"It would be fair to say at the moment that one of the most common complaints that I'm receiving both in regional areas and in city areas is that businesses that want to get back to business are finding it difficult to get staff back.
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"One of the concerns that was raised, and why there was a tapering in terms of the return to work options, was to ensure that the balance was there in terms of ensuring that people had both the need and the opportunity to return to work."
However, Mr Gutwein said he was pleased that the COVID supplement had been provided and that a component remains in place at this time.
"If there is a need for me to advocate for more support at a later date then I am very prepared to do that," he said.
In June, data from the federal Department of Jobs showed there were almost 50 non-Hobart Tasmanians receiving an unemployment payment for every job advertised. The unemployment rate had marginally shifted since.
The federal government plans to reduce the fortnightly rate of JobSeeker - which was $1115 up until September - from $815 to $715 starting from January 1 and finishing on March 31.
About 54,000 Tasmanians are receiving JobSeeker, as of September.
Disincentive claim disputed
The claim that the increased rate of payments during COVID was acting as a disincentive for the unemployed to search for work has been disputed as largely anecdotal.
Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer has heard similar stories, but did not believe there was enough evidence to back it up.
"While anecdotally I have heard similar stories, and it is an important consideration in striking the right balance in regard to the rate of JobSeeker, I do not believe there is enough evidence that wholly supports this claim," she said.
"During my many conversations I have had with our northern Tasmanian community during this difficult year, I am aware of a range of other barriers that may exist for someone seeking employment including transport or difficulty accessing suitable and available child care."
In a submission to a Senate inquiry examining the rate of JobSeeker and proposed changes, TasCOSS urged the government to keep the rate of JobSeeker above the poverty line.
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