The Coalition announced on Sunday that it will offer one-off payments to nearly four million welfare recipients in Tuesday’s budget.
The payments – purportedly to cover energy bills – of $75 for singles and $125 for couples, will go to 2.4 million age pensioners, 744,000 disability pensioners, 280,000 carers, 242,000 single parents and 225,000 veterans and their dependents. The payments will cost $285 million.
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has blasted the Coalition for excluding people on the unemployment benefit, Newstart, from the one-off payment while Labor leader Bill Shorten labelled it an “election con”.
The Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, announced the one-off “energy assistance payment” on Sunday.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Sky News the energy payment “will give cost-of-living pressure relief to pensioners and eligible welfare recipients and it will help them meet the cost of their power bills”.
Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne that the payment – worth $1.45 a week – was “better than nothing, but it’s not an energy policy … it’s an election con”.
The Coalition announcement is in stark contrast to its bid to cut the energy supplement – a move it eventually had to abandon when it could not get the legislation passed through the Senate.
ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie said: “This one-off payment excludes people on the lowest incomes and pales in comparison to the ongoing benefits to be reaped by those on high incomes from the Morrison government’s existing high-end tax cuts worth billions.”
Read more at The Guardian
What do you think of the Coalition’s one-off energy payment? Why is it for only one year?