Increase Allowance for Jobless by $30pw

15 January 2009

ACOSS is urging the Federal Government to introduce a paid work experience scheme for long term jobless people and to increase the unemployment allowance by $30 a week.

Releasing its recommendations for the Federal Budget 2009-10 today, ACOSS has outlined costed measures to assist job seekers overcome barriers to work while also avoiding financial hardship.

Under the ACOSS proposal, Newstart Allowance payments for single people would rise by $30 to $255 per week. This increase would close the gap between types of social security payments – the current Newstart Allowance for a single person is $50 per week less than the Age Pension payment.

Clare Martin, CEO ACOSS:

“Labour Force figures for December 2008 released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show there are now half a million unemployed Australians. We need to ensure people without jobs can afford to live and support their families while looking for work. ACOSS is urging the Government to increase Newstart Allowance payments by $30 to $255 per week for single people.”

“Job seekers, especially long term unemployed people, should be given the best possible chance to find work. ACOSS’ Budget Recommendations outline a paid work experience scheme to help keep people engaged with the workforce. Planning for this program should start now.”

Under existing arrangements, funding for work experience placements decrease once peopleare unemployed for over a year.

ACOSS’ proposal would provide jobs in mainstream employment for long term unemployed people.

Employment would be in the community or public sector and paid at a training wage and offered for six months. The program would be designed so that in the event of a major economic downturn it can be expanded into areas with high unemployment to prevent long term unemployment becoming entrenched.

Download Social Inclusion and Economic Security: Recommendations for the Federal Budget 2009-10 here.

Media Contact: Clare Cameron – 0419 626 155