Dr Cassandra Goldie has welcomed KPMG’s repeated call for an increase to the $38-per-day Newstart Allowance by $50 per week in its latest Reform Agenda for Australia, released today.
“KPMG has described the paucity of Newstart as the largest hole in our social safety-net and has listed an increase to the payment in its top two priorities for reform”, said Dr Goldie.
“KPMG is not alone. The Business Council of Australia and the OECD have expressed concern that the low rate of payment is acting as a barrier to work and risks entrenching people in poverty.
“If the biggest priority for government is jobs, then it should heed the calls of the business, union and community sectors and increase Newstart to reduce barriers to work and reduce the incidence of poverty.
“In the lead up to the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, government should scrap the $5 billion in zombie social security cuts still before the Parliament that include reducing the incomes of people locked out of paid work and sole parents by at least $50 per week.
“Infrastructure investment is another priority area for reform and ACOSS calls for affordable housing to be at the top of the list. While KPMG identified investment in public housing as an economic stimulus option in the event of another financial crisis, Australia cannot wait for a financial crisis for adequate investment in affordable housing. We need an affordable housing investment strategy if we are to meet demand for social housing, reduce homelessness and ensure people are not living in housing stress.
“KPMG backs the National Reform Summit agreement that addressing the budget position of the country requires both spending and revenue reforms, and should focus on redesign of major expenditure programs that are growing in real terms and tax concessions which are no longer fit for purpose. In our view, this highlights the importance of staying with reforms in health and the retirement income system, and tackling tax breaks such as negative gearing and capital gains discounts, which are just some areas where there is a compelling case for reform.”
“A well designed package could deliver improvements to equity, efficiency, productivity and the budget bottom line.”
“ACOSS welcomes KPMG’s call to reconvene the National Reform Summit, which brought together leaders from the business, union and community sectors to discuss and put forward common ground proposals for national reform.
KPMG (2016) ‘A new reform agenda for Australia’ p. 10
Contact: Australian Council of Social Service, 0419 626 155