31 March 2019
The Morrison Government’s pre-budget announcement a one-off Energy Assistance Payment — $75 for singles and $125 for couples — excludes people on the lowest incomes, those who are looking for paid work on Newstart.
“The Morrison Government is ignoring the people who are doing it the hardest,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.
“This one-off payment excludes people on the lowest incomes and pales in comparison to the ongoing benefits to be reaped by those on high incomes from the Morrison Government’s existing high-end tax cuts worth billions.
The announcement today is $285 million, while the Morrison Government has already legislated $11 billion in tax cuts for people on the top 20% of incomes.
“It means that people on modest incomes will receive a once-only payment of $75, while people earning more than $200,000 a year are set to be $200 better off a week, every week.
“It’s grossly unfair to give high income earners tax-cut handouts week after week, while those on modest incomes get a fraction of this as a one off payment, and people on the lowest incomes miss out altogether.
“To support those struggling to cover the basics, like food, housing and energy bills, while they look for paid work in today’s competitive job market, we must increase Newstart by $75 per week. Doing so would cost far less than the income tax cuts the government has already put in place.
“To cut energy bills for people on low incomes we need to invest in energy efficiency, solar and battery storage, which will provide ongoing energy bill relief, rather than a one-off payment, which leaves people to struggle with future bills.
“We’re calling on political parties to commit this election to working with COAG to implement mandatory energy efficiency standards for rental properties; to co-fund energy efficiency and solar for social housing and Indigenous communities; and to provide funds for homeowners on low-incomes to invest in solar and energy efficient measures.
“To immediately support people doing it toughest to cover energy bills and other basics, like food and housing, we must urgently increase Newstart by $75 a week, after 25 years without a real increase,” Dr Goldie said.