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Justice for People on Low Incomes

A womans hands, holding a meagre amount of coins

In last night’s Federal Budget, the Government announced it would increase income support payments to people who are unemployed and also to students. More generous support, currently paid to unemployed people over 60 will be extended to those between 55 and 60. Income support for single parents will not drop until their youngest child turns 14 instead of eight. That will mean higher income support for longer.

Many of those on the lower income support payments will also benefit from a 15% increase in rent assistance, but this is unlikely to cover sharply rising rental costs.

This announcement follows a concerted campaign to “raise the rate” in recent times.

Prior to the Budget, an open letter by a number of prominent Australians to the Federal Government called for an increase in the rate of income support to the lowest paid recipients to 90% of the age pension rate. Chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, Bishop Vincent Long, was among the signatories. The increase of $40 per fortnight for those getting a job seeker payment, youth allowance or Austudy is nowhere near what was advocated. It is nowhere near what people need to live a dignified life. Further action is needed to bring about a change for the better.

More information about the campaign, including the open letter, may be found here.