Our social security system is one of the most important pieces of civic infrastructure we have. Seven in ten of us will live in a household that receives social security at some point in our lives. However, over recent years we have witnessed the sustained undermining of our social security system through payment cuts, increased conditionality that hinders rather than helps people, and denigration of people receiving social security in the media. Our policy proposals are designed to strengthen our social security system to ensure it best achieves its goal of preventing poverty and deprivation, and put the dignity of people first.
- Raise the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments by a minimum of $75 per week;
- Establish a Single Parent Supplement to help single parents with the cost of raising children;
- Establish a Social Security Commission to guide the Parliament on payment settings;
- Index income support and family payments to wage movements;
- Abolish a range of paternalistic conditions attached to payments including compulsory income management, cashless debit, and third-party verification of relationship status;
- Replace ‘Robodebt’ debt collection arrangements with a fairer system where the onus of proof for overpayments lies with Centrelink;
- Streamline payment application processes to reduce waiting times and prevent people having to provide the same information twice;
- Reduce or abolish excessive waiting periods for payments, including for new migrants, so that people in the same financial need are treated the same way;
- Ease unreasonable restrictions on access to the Disability Support Pension;
- Strengthen the capacity of Centrelink to meet need by increasing permanent staffing levels and introducing robust advisory arrangements.