Aussies on Centrelink could soon receive higher payments, following a deal that was struck with the Government over the weekend.
Independent senator David Pocock has agreed to support the Government’s industrial relations bill on the condition that an “economic inclusion advisory committee” is established. The independent committee will review welfare payments each year before the Federal Budget and publish their findings.
Pocock said the committee would be a “game changer” for Aussies living below the poverty line and would make sure the most vulnerable people weren’t being left behind.
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“Support payments are inadequate and not keeping pace with inflation, meaning those who need support are living in deepening levels of poverty,” he said.
“A recent report showed one in six children in Australia are growing up in poverty.”
Pocock said the committee would publish their recommendations at least two weeks before the Budget, the next of which was due in May 2023.
“So, there’ll be a level of transparency there and then the Government will have to make the case of why they are or aren’t taking those recommendations on board,” he said.
The move will put pressure on the Government to raise JobSeeker payments, which are currently $668.40 per fortnight for singles or about $48 a day.
The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) - currently pushing for JobSeeker payments to be raised to at least $73 a day - welcomed the news.
“It will be crucial that the Government acts on the committee’s recommendations, which will no doubt shine a light on the inadequacy of JobSeeker and related payments to meet essential costs,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.
“We know the inadequacy of these payments forces people to go without food and without essential medicines, and that an adequate increase to income-support payments is needed urgently right now.”