Centrelink payments to increase by $1.77 a day: ‘Grossly inadequate’
Aussies are set to receive an increase in Centrelink payments this month, including JobSeeker and Age Pension recipients.
More than 4.7 million Aussies will receive an increase to their Centrelink payments as part of routine indexation. But some groups have slammed the increase as woefully inadequate.
On March 20, income support payments including JobSeeker will increase by 3.7 per cent in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Aussies receiving JobSeeker will receive an increase of just $1.77 a day, taking the payment for a single person from $48 to $50 a day.
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Those on the Age Pension will see payments rise by about $2.68 a day, increasing the rate to $76 a day for singles.
The Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union (AUWU) said the increase was “insignificant” and criticised the government for boasting about the indexation.
“This is regularly scheduled indexation, it’s baked into the social security law,” AUWU spokesperson Jeremy Heywood told Yahoo Finance.
“We feel like governments are putting focus on it to mask their refusal to raise the rate or meaningfully deal with the poverty crisis that is occurring.”
The AUWU is calling for an immediate increase to all income support payments to the Henderson Poverty Line, which would bring people up to roughly $88 per day.
Heywood said the union was hearing “devastating” stories from its members, including one member who was forced to put his medication on Afterpay and others who reported suffering malnutrition.
It’s been the “toughest and grimmest” time for welfare recipients in the union’s history, Heywood said.
“[Welfare recipients have been] smashed by low income support for many years, cumulatively and now simultaneously smashed by a cost-of-living crisis which is driving their groceries, rent and bills even higher,” Heywood said.
The Australian Council of Social Services is also calling for a “real increase” to support payments, and believes JobSeeker should be increased to $73 a day to bring it in line with the pension.
“While every little bit extra helps, this indexation will not ensure that people can cover basic costs because their incomes were grossly inadequate before prices rose,” ACOSS acting CEO Edwina MacDonald said.
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