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5 March 2021

The Government’s Social Service Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Income Support) Bill 2021 seeks to permanently increase the rate of JobSeeker payments by a measly $3.57 a day more than the old Newstart. This would leave recipients with a $44 a day budget to cover life essentials.

NCOSS made a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs asking them to oppose the reforms and adopt the model put forward by the Australian Council of Social Service, namely:

  • Set a minimum income floor across the working-age payments system set at the current pension rate which is currently $472 per week (including the Pension Supplement).
  • Increase base rates of allowances to this income floor. This would require an increase of $185 per week to the single maximum rate of JobSeeker payment and $235 per week for a single, maximum rate of Youth Allowance. This would simplify the income support system while securing fairness.

If the Government do not adequately raise the rate of income support, the flow-on effect is an increase in demand for support services funded by States and Territories. Modelling commissioned by NCOSS and NSW peak organisations indicates this in turn will increase the rates of housing stress, homelessness, mental distress and domestic violence.