ACOSS is urging the Federal Government to support people on low incomes, who are bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis.
Following the government’s mid-year budget announcement, ACOSS is calling for action at the May federal budget including a boost to income support, measures to permanently lower the cost of energy bills, and scrapping the Stage 3 tax cuts which will only further fuel inflation.
ACOSS Acting CEO Edwina MacDonald says: “The skyrocketing cost of rent and energy has created a tsunami of financial distress that is pushing people on the lowest incomes to the absolute brink.
“Community services are at a breaking point, unable to keep up with the demand from people in desperate need of support. The government’s projections today show at least 100,000 more people will be unemployed next year.
“More of the same in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook does not cut it when people on low incomes are forced to choose between feeding themselves, paying their rent, or turning the lights on.
“It’s disturbing to see an expectation of almost no real spending growth when we know we need to do more to meet the community’s needs for essential services, income support, and to manage the climate transition over the years to come.
“The government urgently needs to increase income support payments to at least $78 a day so people can afford the absolute basics of life.
“We can afford this, and more, by scrapping the wasteful and inflationary Stage 3 tax cuts that will put money in the pockets of people who need it least.
“The Stage 3 tax cuts represent a multi-billion dollar loss in revenue which could be redirected to desperately needed support and community services for people trying to get by on low incomes.
“Further energy relief will be needed for people on low incomes. The government should focus on methods to permanently lower household bills while helping us meet our energy transition targets, rather than one-off subsidies.
“If the government is serious about easing financial distress, we need bold, sensible, and urgent action that will restore fairness to the budget.”
ACOSS is urging the government to:
- Increase income support payments such as JobSeeker and Youth Allowance to at least $78 a day
- Scrap the Stage 3 tax cuts
- Work with states and territories to cap excessive rent increases
- Greater investment to accelerate energy efficiency, electrification and solar retrofits for low-income housing
- Establish a jobs and training package for people unemployed long-term as part of an overhaul of employment services
- Increase funding for essential services so they can help more people in financial distress and hardship due to cost of living crisis
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