Welfare groups in renewed push for $50 dole increase

A consortium of national social services groups have sent an open letter to the Federal Government.
A consortium of national social services groups have sent an open letter to the Federal Government. Ron Chapple Stock

LETTING people on the Newstart Allowance keep more of their earnings before tax was like filling potholes in a road when the road needed to be rebuilt, several social services group have argued.

A consortium of national social services groups including the Salvation Army and Australian Council of Social Services, have sent an open letter to the Federal Government.

The letter comes after reports the government was considering raising the income tax threshold for people on the dole, to receive more of their earnings before tax.

But the services groups again restated their call for a full $50 a week increase in the Newstart Allowance instead.

"This is not an 'either or' choice. While we need to allow people to keep more of the money they earn, we also need a more adequate base payment," the letter reads.

"There should not be a trade-off or the central problem that current payment levels are driving people further into poverty and making it more difficult for people to find paid work will be missed."

The letter also said while raising the threshold would help those who could work, there were more than 100,000 people already on the allowance with either significant disabilities, or only a partial capacity to work.

"By 2014, one in five people on Newstart will have a partial capacity to work," the letter reads.

"Of the 789,976 on Newstart and Youth Allowance, 253,000 have been looking for work for more than two years, 250,000 are aged over 45, and 155,000 are aged over 50."

Signatories the statement included: Australian Council of Social Service; Anglicare Australia; Australian Federation of Disability Organisations; Australian Youth Affairs Coalition; Catholic Social Services Australia; COTA Australia; Jobs Australia; National Council of Single Mothers and their Children; National Welfare Rights Network; St Vincent de Paul Society; National Council of Australia; The Benevolent Society; The Salvation Army.

Topics:  dole newstart allowance welfare

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