Uniting Vic.Tas, one of Victoria’s largest not-for-profit community services organisations, described the decision of Australia’s major political parties not to commit to a review of the income support rate as disappointing.
Our No Fighting Chance: Impact of the withdrawal of COVID-19 income and tenancy benefits report with Swinburne University – released last year – found the COVID supplement, which effectively doubled the income support rate during 2020 and 2021, had helped lift many families out of poverty.
Uniting Vic.Tas CEO Bronwyn Pike said the report found the supplement made people’s lives easier, but the withdrawal of the additional support impacted their mental and physical health.
“It’s really disappointing neither of the major parties have committed to reviewing the income support rate. We believe these payments should be benchmarked to the minimum wage,” Ms Pike said.
“Income support, such as the JobSeeker payment, is not a handout, it’s about giving people a basic standard of living while they get back on their feet.
“Poverty has been linked to everything from poor academic achievement, poor mental and physical health and a lack of availability to important community services and resources.
“Nobody should have to make a choice between paying the electricity bill and buying necessities like food or medicine.”
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