Government must stop cutting income support for people doing it tough

ACOSS calls on the Australian Government to stop cutting income support payments to people who are doing it tough.

“Yesterday, the Government introduced legislation into the Senate that would cut income support payments including Newstart, Sickness Allowance and pensions to the tune of almost $300m over four years”, said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“People receiving income support are already trapped in a spiral of poverty, and this bill will further entrench disadvantage, making it harder for those doing it tough to get ahead.

“More cuts to income support payments is also the last thing the country needs. These are payments that go into the hands of people who will spend every cent in the real economy. This bill would take a further $291 million out of the economy, just when everyone from the RBA to ACOSS is calling for more to be done on fiscal policy.

“The bill will double the Liquid Assets Waiting Period for people accessing allowances, which would see some wait for six months to get Newstart, Sickness Allowance and Youth Allowance if they have a certain level of cash assets. We know that having some savings in the bank greatly benefits people on allowances because these payments do not cover the cost of essentials. This bill will only make it tougher for more people who are looking for paid work or fall ill.

“It would also increase waiting periods for migrants claiming an Age or Disability Support Pension, forcing people aged 65+ to wait up to 15 years to access a pension.

This is a cruel cut that will increase poverty among older people in Australia.

“The bill cuts the GST Supplement for pensioners who spend six weeks or more outside of Australia, disadvantaging older people who travel overseas to visit family.

“We call on the Australian Government to stop cutting income support and instead increase Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments by at least $75pw to help people get through tough times.

For detail and key facts about the Payment Integrity bill, see this briefing note.

Media contacts: ACOSS Media 0419 626 155