Wednesday, 06 February 2013 16:36

Support for Low Income Earners

UnitingCare Australia’s National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said low income Australians will be better off under new legislation which passed the House of Representatives yesterday.

Ms Hatfield Dodds said the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Income Support Bonus) Bill 2012, which will deliver $1.1 billion in supplementary allowances for people receiving Newstart, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment, was announced in last year’s Federal Budget.

“We welcome the passage of the legislation through the House of Representatives yesterday but are disappointed to see it was not unanimously supported.

“We said after last year’s budget, and I repeat now, that while this very modest allowance of effectively $4 a week falls well short of the $50 a week increase we called for, we hope it represents a down payment on a decent increase in unemployment benefits in the 2013 budget.

“We further hope every political party will put forward serious policies that will ensure every Australian has the means and opportunity to contribute to and be valued by their community.

“While the $1.1 billion is a very modest weekly increase for individuals, it does represent the first increase to Newstart in a very long time.

“I hope this legislation is a statement of intent for this year’s Federal budget,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

The UnitingCare network provides social services to over 2 million people each year in 1,300 sites in remote, rural and metropolitan Australia. UnitingCare employs 35,000 staff and 24,000 volunteers.