IT TOOK a global pandemic for the government to increase the Newstart Allowance - the first time it's done so in almost 25 years - and politicians are calling for it to be permanent raised.
The welfare payment - which was been rebranded JobSeeker - has been temporarily doubled from $280 a week to about $550 a week in respond to the economic pressures of COVID-19.
As of May, there were 1.5 million people receiving JobSeeker payments and the government is foresting that figure to increase to 1.7 million by September.
First-term Nationals MP for Cowper, Pat Conaghan, has been a vocal advocate for raising Newstart and stands by his call to increase it.
With the country taking on a large amount of debt, Mr Conaghan, from the NSW Mid-North Coast, said it wouldn't be possible to keep the welfare payments at their current level - but there was definitely room for a middle ground.
"Many people who weren't previously on Newstart and who have lost their job due to the effects of COVID-19 may still struggle to find a job in the six to 12 months after the pandemic, so I would like the coronavirus supplement safety-net extended," he said.
After that, Mr Conaghan said JobSeeker should be reduced in order to begin repairing the budget, but an increase of $75 to $95 a week on the old Newstart rate was a reasonable expectation.
"That would be in line with what the NSW Council of Social Service has supported in times past, $355 to $375 per week," Mr Conaghan said.
Senator Jacqui Lambie said as far as economic ideas went, "nothing was off the table", including a permanent increase to Newstart.
"These people couldn't live on Newstart as it was, so we do not want to go back to that," she said.
"Now that we've opened the gates, we need to have a good, frank and honest discussion about how much these people should be on."
Senator Lambie said economically, it was a policy that made sense.
"I was one of those people who lived on unemployment benefits for many, many years and I know what that money does - it goes back into the local community," she said.
New England MP and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce broke party ranks last year, calling for the welfare payment to be raised.
He said while there was still a discussion to be had, raising it was now a "much hard decision".
"When we were heading to a surplus, it was an easy decision," Mr Joyce said.
"It still needs to happen, but it's going to be a lot more difficult - one of the problems we have now is massive debt.
"That money still has to come from somewhere, and usually that somewhere is peoples' tax."
Mr Joyce said given the economic uncertainty, it was impossible to settle on a figure other than "more than what we had".