Sunday, 05 September 2010 00:00

Indexation of Income Support Payments welcome

Susan Helyar, National Director of UnitingCare Australia has welcomed the routine indexation increase for income support payments announced on Friday by the Federal Government.

Ms Helyar said people on income support struggle to meet their basic needs.

“The increases, effective from 20 September will put more money in the pockets of some of the poorest Australians,” Ms Helyar said.

“For that reason, we welcome the increases to payments to older Australians, people living with disability, carers and veterans, put in place during the Labor’s last term of government.

“We also welcome the use of a more realistic measure of cost of living pressures, put in place as part of those reforms.

“The significant increase to some payments recognised the inadequacy of income support and the difficulties faced by the people who rely on the payments for their daily needs.

“A basket of groceries costs the same regardless of the source of someone’s income or their reasons for needing income support.

“But the gap between Newstart and the aged pension is currently around $120 a week for a single person and continues to widen.

“This could be fixed with a significant one-off boost to those payments which are falling further behind, and the introduction of consistent indexation arrangements.

“Everyone in Australia is entitled to a decent life that includes access to appropriate food, clothing and healthcare; safe and secure housing; opportunities for meaningful work; education, rest and enjoyment; and the opportunity to participate in and contribute to communities.

“The improved fiscal outlook announced this week provides the opportunity for action on these issues during the next term of government,” Ms Helyar said.

Contact: Susan Helyar 02 6249 6717 / 0448 791 987
The UnitingCare network provides services to over 2 million people each year in 1,300 sites in remote, regional and metropolitan communities. The network employs 35,000 people and is supported by the work of 24,000 volunteers.