ACOSS urges Parliament to reject latest attempt to cut incomes of poorest in new Omnibus Bill

8 February 2017

ACOSS today urged the Federal Parliament to stand firm against measures in the new Government Omnibus Bill that will cut the incomes of some of the poorest people, including families, to fund child care reforms.

“This is the latest attempt by the Government to push through harsh cuts that will rip $7 billion from the social security budget. It includes previously rejected ‘zombie’ measures, such as the five-week wait for unemployment payments, further cuts to family payments, and abolition of the energy supplement, which will slash the incomes of two million future recipients of income support,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“The so-called concessions the Government has made will be wiped out by other changes in the Bill, leaving many low-income people worse off.

“Of course we all want greater support for families to get better quality childcare but it cannot be funded on the backs of some of the most disadvantaged people in our country.

“This is not the way to build a strong community – caring for each other through all stages of our lives has served our nation well. This new bill risks weakening our social fabric.

“The increase to the Family Tax Benefit Part A for families with children by $10 a week does not make up for cuts to the supplements. A sole parent with two children aged 13 and 15 will still lose between $14 and $20 per week, or around $1,000 a year.

“Although this is less of a hit than under the previous proposal, it will still severely impact single parents, most of whom are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and feed their children as well as provide for them in the new school year.

“We are concerned the new Bill also includes unfair measures previously and repeatedly rejected by Federal Parliament and the broader community, such as making young people who become unemployed wait five weeks to receive income support.  This measure will not create jobs and merely punishes people who lose one.

“Abolishing the energy supplement will cut between $4-$7 a week from people on the lowest incomes, including pensioners, students, families, and people locked out of paid work.

“We have been consistent in our opposition to any watering down of paid parental leave and oppose any weakening of the current system, which currently ranks second to last in the OECD.

“This zombie Bill would only serve to increase poverty and inequality in Australia and Parliament must reject it,” Dr Goldie said.

Media contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155

More information on ‘zombie’ measures: