ACOSS warns against the Government’s planned cuts to income support

Ahead of the Treasurer’s economic address tomorrow, the Australian Council of Social Service says the community strongly opposes the massive cuts to income support proposed by the Government in September, just a few months away.

The Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“People cannot afford these huge cuts to income support, proposed by the Government, which would take us back to the old, brutal rate of Newstart at just $40 a day.

“Let’s not forget that on the old Newstart rate, people living on such little money were showering once a week to cut their energy bill, and 90% regularly skipped meals, as shown by our survey last year.

“The Government says it has our backs but going ahead with these severe cuts to income support would be the opposite.

“The Government must keep the new JobSeeker Payment in place until our income support system is fixed so that nobody is forced to live below the poverty line.
“The poverty line in Australia, as defined by the OECD, is $500 per week for a single person with no children.

“People must to be able to meet the basic needs of housing, food, utilities, medical costs and families must have enough to care for their children.

“Cutting income from those who need it the most would trap people in poverty long term and only make our economy go further backwards.

“We must make sure those of us without paid work can cover the basics – food, housing, electricity. This will mean people can make the most of job opportunities as the economy rebuilds.

“We can create thousands of jobs and end homelessness through a public infrastructure program to build social housing.
“A national social housing infrastructure program has the support of Master Builders Australia, Homelessness Australia and the CFMEU. We welcome support from the Opposition Leader for this as reported on today ahead of his speech.

“We can create even more jobs, cut energy bills and tackle climate change by installing solar and improving energy efficiency in the homes of those who could otherwise not afford this.

“We need to keep working together to get through this crisis and to rebuild into a more resilient society that leaves no one behind,” Dr Goldie said.