Energy supplement safe. Corporate tax cuts defeated. Now the government must raise the rate of Newstart.

ACOSS welcomes the government’s announcement today that it will no longer abolish the energy supplement assisting people on low incomes in Australia.

The energy supplement, ranging between $4 and $7 per week, is received by everyone getting an income support payment.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie says the threat of cutting the energy supplement since 2016 has caused anxiety in the community as people on Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments struggle to afford electricity, food and housing.

“The Prime Minister’s announcement to retain the energy supplement is an important recognition that people on the lowest incomes in Australia are doing it the toughest.

“We have always said that it is people living on Newstart, Youth Allowance and other income support payments who are struggling most when it comes to covering the basics like food, energy bills and rent. They need every cent of this supplement.

“We also thank the Senate today for listening to the voices of the community and strongly opposing the company tax cut bill which would have cost the budget billions and put further pressure on essential services upon which we all rely.

“We thank all those in the community sector who added their voice to the debate, including the 12 Charity CEOs who wrote to the Senate urging for the corporate tax cut bill to be defeated.

“Today is an important opportunity for the Government to reset its agenda with the Australian community.

“We are bitterly disappointed the Government has bulldozed ahead with extending the Cashless Debit Card into Queensland.

“Instead of trying to portray people on low incomes in the community as being to blame, the most important announcement the government should make today is to increase Newstart by 75$ a day.

“The Government should acknowledge that people on Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments, at less than $40 per day, are doing it the toughest.

“The very low rates are making it near impossible for people to put a roof over their head and food on the table, let alone study and look for paid work.”