Government plans to cut income support dubbed ‘cruel’

Font Size:

The government has introduced legislation to cut income support payments for Newstart, Sickness Allowance and pensions to the tune of almost $300 million over the next four years.

The Payment Integrity Bill will cut income support payments to pensioners and some people accessing Newstart, Austudy, Youth Allowance, and Sickness Allowance. The three measures in the Bill would extend the residency requirements to access the Age and Disability Support pensions; cut the GST Supplement paid to pensioners who leave Australia for six weeks or more and would double the Liquid Assets Waiting Period from 13 to 26 weeks.

The measures are expected to slash $291.5 million from income support over the forward estimates period.

“People receiving income support are already trapped in a spiral of poverty, and this bill will further entrench disadvantage, making it harder for those doing it tough to get ahead,” said ACOSS chief Dr Cassandra Goldie, who has called on the government to stop further income support payment cuts to people who are already doing it tough.

“More cuts to income support payments is also the last thing the country needs. These are payments that go into the hands of people who will spend every cent in the real economy. This bill would take a further $291 million out of the economy, just when everyone from the RBA to ACOSS is calling for more to be done on fiscal policy.

“The bill will double the Liquid Assets Waiting Period for people accessing allowances, which would see some wait for six months to get Newstart, Sickness Allowance and Youth Allowance if they have a certain level of cash assets. We know that having some savings in the bank greatly benefits people on allowances because these payments do not cover the cost of essentials. This bill will only make it tougher for more people who are looking for paid work or fall ill.”

According to ACOSS, the measure will deny people aged 65 and over, and people with a disability in serious financial hardship, access to a pension. It will be mostly older people who are affected, who have very limited opportunity to get sufficient paid work.

“It would also increase waiting periods for migrants claiming an Age or Disability Support Pension, forcing people aged 65 and over to wait up to 15 years to access a pension.”

Dr Goldie is concerned the cuts will increase poverty among older people in Australia.

“The bill cuts the GST Supplement for pensioners who spend six weeks or more outside of Australia, disadvantaging older people who travel overseas to visit family,” she said.

“We call on the Australian Government to stop cutting income support and instead increase Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments by at least $75pw to help people get through tough times.”

Were you aware of such cuts? Do you think Newstart should be increased? Should the government look at increasing the Age Pension base rate?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.


DHS won’t rule out targeting age pensioners next

Any decision to expand the robo-debt scheme to meet budget targets would happen ‘further down

Age Pension process is “too hard, too complicated and too long”

The application process for the Age Pension is "too complicated and too long".

Age Pension ‘generous’, says social services minister

‘It is a generous amount of money that taxpayers make available to older Australians.'

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Sign-up to the YourLifeChoices Enewsletter

continue reading

Health Insurance

Ageing baby boomers are missing out on health cover savings

Most older Australians see their health insurance premiums rise every year but don’t realise these high costs can be for...

Travel News

Vaccination no guarantee of open borders, says health minister

Australia's international border could remain closed even after the vaccination rollout is complete, according to health minister Greg Hunt. Mr...


The 'risk' of letting your grey hair grow out

At what point do you stop dyeing your hair and allow the grey to grow out? Is it after you...


Five running shoes reviewed

With the cooler weather, autumn and winter are arguably the best seasons to run in Australia, so it might be...


How large is Rupert Murdoch's reach in Australian media?

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd's petition to establish a royal commission into media diversity in Australia attracted more than half...


Coronary heart disease is the biggest killer of women worldwide

Heart attacks are still often seen as a 'male health' issue, yet coronary heart disease - which is the main...


Another vaccine ruled out as second blood clot case emerges

Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has announced that a second case of blood clots is believed to be linked to...

Superannuation News

Super funds fight for changes to reforms

Your Super, Your Future legislation will be enacted within three months and leading players are weighing in on the impact...