ACOSS CEO Clare Martin said that while the organisation welcomes the Budget’s increased assistance to single pensioners of $33 per week, these changes neglect groups who are among the most disadvantaged, creating widened rifts in support payments.
“The pension increase is well-targeted for single pensioners but misses what should be its main focus – those most affected by the downturn – sole pensioners and unemployed people,” Martin said.
“[The] Budget excluded sole parent pensioners who remain on the old payment levels. Sitting well below sole parent pensioners are people on the unemployment allowance and even lower, students 18-64 years old on Youth Allowance or Austudy payment.
“If the pre-Budget pension rate of $285 per week is not enough for a single pensioner to live decently, then $227 is not enough for an unemployed person. Also, $550 per week (including $285 for the parent and $265 in Family Tax Benefits for the children) is not enough for a sole parent to raise two school age children alone,” she said.
Following the recent release of the Federal Budget, ACOSS released new research that indicates a stark disparity between the various levels of income support payments. As unemployment rises, according to ACOSS, closing the gaps between the support payments for different groups will become increasingly important, and it has been urging the Government to increase payments to resolve the disparities.
For more information visit www.acoss.org.au
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