ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: Secure future, but not for all

15 May 2013

The 2013 Federal Budget has secured investment in school education and Disability Care, and strengthened public revenue to fund these and other services, but low income families and people on Newstart are facing a less secure future.

Susan Helyar, Director of the ACT Council of Social Service said, “No increase to Newstart means the thousands of people looking for work in Canberra are stuck on $35/day. Lifting the earnings a person can take home before losing benefits to $100/fortnight gets the per day income up to $42. Not enough to meet costs of living in Canberra and not enough to set yourself up with training, education, transport and suitable clothing to make a new start in a job.

“It’s a cruel irony that during two decades of tax cuts and growth of tax concessions, no government has been willing to show a corresponding generosity to the poorest people in our community by lifting Newstart Allowance to above the poverty line.

“Reducing family benefits means tighter budgets for low income households. I would have liked this belt tightening to be shared by higher income households – by equalising the tax treatment of income from superannuation with income from wages, and taxing capital gains more fairly.

“ACTCOSS supports investment in the national housing agreement, increased resources to fight cancer and ongoing support for preschool education. We will be looking for the detail on whether funding to the ACT will meet our community's needs. 

“But job cuts, spending cuts and inadequate income support are bad news – more people living on inadequate Newstart Allowance and more demand for financial assistance from already stretched community services. People out of work in Canberra face another bleak winter,” Ms Helyar concluded.

For more information or comment please contact
Susan Helyar, Director, on 0448 791 987 or 02 6202 7200.