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Centrelink recipients: What a Labor Government means for you

·3-min read
Centrelink branch
A boost to Centrelink JobSeeker payments above $46 a day was not part of Labor's election platform. (Source: Getty)

Low-income Australians may be wondering what a change of government means for them, with the rising cost of living and stagnant wages hitting the vulnerable hard.

Labor made some major promises on child care, disability support, social housing and other key issues that may flow through to vulnerable Australians.

Here’s what an Albanese Government has pledged for social security recipients and low-income households.

Parents

Parents will get a hip pocket boost under Labor, with the childcare subsidy rate to be bumped up for most families except those earning over $530,000.

Under a Labor Government, a household earning less than $75,000 a year will get their child care subsidised by 90 per cent.

Job seekers

Noticeably absent from Labor’s policy platform was a boost to the JobSeeker payment above the poverty line.

Several social welfare groups called for higher payments for job seekers, including St Vincent de Paul Society, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the Antipoverty Centre.

Most Australians have also been found to support a boost to JobSeeker payments above the poverty line.

Pensioners

Albanese supported the Coalition’s plan to freeze deeming rates at their current levels for two years.

Under this policy, designed to offset the impact of rising interest rates, the Labor Government plans to freeze how it calculates the expected income of pensioners and retirees from their assets.

Also on the agenda will be expanding eligibility to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards to 50,000 more older Australians.

People with these cards typically get cheaper medicine, doctor visits, energy bills, public transport and a range of other discounts.

Disabilities

Labor promised to review the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) if elected.

Critically, Labor’s review will look to "guarantee plans will not be arbitrarily cut", following concerns that packages were being cut without explanation.

Housing

The new Government will also boost the supply of social and affordable housing by creating a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund.

The returns from the investment would be used to create 30,000 new social and affordable homes in five years.

Health

Labor committed to lowering the PBS Medicines General Co-payment by $12.50 per script.

That means the maximum someone will pay for medicine under the PBS would drop from $42.50 per script, to a maximum of $30 per script.

Centrelink workforce bolstered

Labor also promised to boost Centrelink staff, promising 200 more staff for Services Australia.

The Government also pledged to hire 500 staff for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and 380 staff for the National Disability Insurance Agency.

Labor also plans to conduct a user audit of myGov, the platform people use to access online government services.

The myGov portal for accessing Centrelink services online has fallen well behind user expectations, according to a former architect of the digital platform.

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