Response to reporting of one-off social security payments in economic stimulus package

10 March 2020

In response to reporting that one-off social security payments, including for people on Newstart, will be part of the Government’s imminent stimulus package, Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“While we would welcome a substantial payment delivered now and another delivered in the Budget, the most effective step the government can take, both from an economic and social perspective, is to increase the base rate of Newstart.

“Increasing Newstart is one of the best ways to provide immediate economic stimulus where it is needed most. It will be spent rapidly, injecting much needed dollars into the economy to keep small businesses open.

“With increasing unemployment expected, increasing Newstart would also support economic recovery over the medium term by creating jobs.

“Over the longer term, it would right the long-standing wrong of the payment being left to stagnate for 26 years without a real increase, trapping people in poverty.

“Leading economists, including the RBA Governor and the CBA Chief Economist, as well as the Council of Small Business Organisations and the Australian Investment Council believe increasing Newstart would provide effective economic stimulus.

“Increasing Newstart is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”

“We also note that any one-off payments for people on Newstart should be set at at least the same level as those for people receiving the Age Pension, which is $185 a week higher than Newstart.”