Child welfare groups are urging the Morrison government to permanently raise the rate of welfare payments in the October budget.
The 19 organisations from across Australia argue many more children are likely to be living in households reliant on government support due to the economic fallout from coronavirus.
They have written to the prime minister warning financial stress can have a devastating impact on child development, with life-long effects.
They said the temporary doubling of JobSeeker unemployment benefits during the pandemic had allowed parents and guardians to pay for necessities, fresh produce and medical care.
“In the interests of all Australia’s children, we urge you to make a significant investment in the upcoming budget to ensure Australia has a social security safety net that accounts for children’s developmental needs,” they said.
“COVID has already affected children in some very negative ways. However, Australia has a window, with clear public appetite, to make structural changes in how we support our children into the future.
“Acting now would offer a very high return on investment.”
Scott Morrison has indicated he is open to increasing the JobSeeker rate beyond December, when the supplement payments are due to expire.