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Senate Committee finds we must permanently increase income support

01/05/2020

Source: ican.org.au

ACOSS Media Release

The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes the report of the Senate Inquiry into the Adequacy of Newstart. The Committee recommends that the JobSeeker (formerly Newstart), Youth Allowance and Parenting Payments be increased once the Coronavirus Supplement is phased out.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said “The Senate heard from people skipping meals, forgoing medication, turning off their fridges to save electricity and struggling to keep a roof over their head. This increased JobSeeker payment has come about thanks to people bravely sharing their stories about trying to get by on the old paltry rate of Newstart.”

The Senate Committee recommends “once the Coronavirus Supplement is phased out, the Australian Government increase the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment rates to ensure that all eligible recipients do not live in poverty.”

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie continued “The Government’s own modelling shows that up to 1.7 million people are expected to be unemployed in September. The increased JobSeeker payment must be extended. Cutting people’s already low incomes, especially during the national recovery effort, would only take the economy backwards.”

“Beyond the current crisis, we must ensure that our social security system provides the support that people need to get by, including single parents, people with disability, carers and those struggling with the cost of rent.
“Now more than ever, we are seeing why we need to have a decent social safety net in place at all times.”

The Committee recommends that the JobSeeker (formerly Newstart), Youth Allowance and Parenting Payments be increased once the Coronavirus Supplement is phased out.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said “The Senate heard from people skipping meals, forgoing medication, turning off their fridges to save electricity and struggling to keep a roof over their head. This increased JobSeeker payment has come about thanks to people bravely sharing their stories about trying to get by on the old paltry rate of Newstart.”

The Senate Committee recommends: once the Coronavirus Supplement is phased out, the Australian Government increase the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment rates to ensure that all eligible recipients do not live in poverty.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie continued “The Government’s own modelling shows that up to 1.7 million people are expected to be unemployed in September. The increased JobSeeker payment must be extended. Cutting people’s already low incomes, especially during the national recovery effort, would only take the economy backwards.”

“Beyond the current crisis, we must ensure that our social security system provides the support that people need to get by, including single parents, people with disability, carers and those struggling with the cost of rent.
Now more than ever, we are seeing why we need to have a decent social safety net in place at all times.”

Key recommendations included:
• Increase JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance, and Parenting Payment
• Review Commonwealth Rent Assistance to ensure it significantly improves rental affordability
• Establish a national definition of poverty
Read the Senate Inquiry Report