Statement on Greens Income Support platform

The upcoming election must be about ensuring people can cover the basics, and that means lifting the incomes of people with the least.

We welcome the announcement today from the Australian Greens of its policy to lift income support payments above the poverty line and we urge all parties and candidates in the upcoming Federal Election to make the same commitment.

There are now 30% more people receiving working age payments across Australia compared with before the pandemic crisis began. Rents have skyrocketed. More people than ever are finding it impossible to afford rent, food, keep a car on the road, and pay for other essentials like utilities.

No one can cover the cost of living on $46 a day, which is the maximum rate of  the unemployment payment now called Jobseeker.

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) urges all political parties and candidates to commit to increasing the base rates of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, and related income support payments to at least $70 a day so that everyone has enough to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head. For people with illness or disability and single parents there must be adequate supplementary payments so they can meet the unique costs they face.

We are also in the middle of one of the worst housing crises Australia has ever faced – rents everywhere are going up, but particularly in regional areas. The next government must increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50% so people on the lowest incomes can better afford private rent.

At the same time, the next government must invest in social housing to deliver on affordable housing for people who need it most.

If we’re going to end poverty, we need to ensure that people struggling on fixed income support can get through these tough times and have the best chance to retrain and look for paid work.

We call on the major political parties to commit to permanently lifting income support so that people doing it tough in our community no longer live in poverty.