News of a possible bump in Newstart payments to the tune of $300 a fortnight announced by the Labor Party has reignited debate about Age Pension increases, which may also receive a minor boost.
It has long been thought that the base rate of Newstart was far too low. The current Government has a theory that keeping it low puts pressure on jobseekers to look for a job. It’s a relatively sound theory assuming, of course, there are jobs out there to be had.
The same Government claims that unemployment is at a record low, but while younger dole recipients may have a decent chance of getting work, the job market for older workers is thin. Add to that the recent findings that employers actually adopt illegal practices that all but rule out even interviewing mature workers, and the possibility of older people finding work borders on the impossible.
While the news of raising five welfare payments may come as music to many ears, it does not address the dire circumstances renting age pensioners are in, nor does it solve our housing affordability crisis. There are many renting retirees who struggle to make ends meet. Should a boost to Rent Assistance also be on the cards?
A formula proposed by the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods states that increases to five payments can be made by reducing other payments, but would a better way be for the Government to more heavily target corporate tax evaders? According to The Age, if all companies included in the ATO transparency figures report paid their full share of tax, it would add $10 billion to the economy’s bottom line – enough to fund 10,583,541 emergency patients and 829,224 secondary school students, says the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
The base rate Newstart payments hasn’t changed in 25 years. The Age Pension base rate has also been untouched since 2009.
Could some of the money collected from improved corporate tax targeting be redirected towards funding Centrelink increases to Newstart, the Age Pension and Rent Assistance, without taking away from single parents and other struggling families?
It’s food for thought.
Today, we thought we’d ask you for your opinion on pension issues. So why not take part in our Friday Flash Poll: How could the Government improve the pension system?
And of course, we'd love you to share any other comments about the pension system below.
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