Changes to income support for young Australians from January 1 isn’t enough to pay the bills, according to the Australian Council of Social Service.
On January 1 each year income support payments including Youth Allowance and Austudy are adjusted for inflation.
The Youth Allowance rate will go up by at least $19 a fortnight in 2023, with youth and student payments to be indexed by more than 6 per cent.
From January 1, the basic rate of Youth Allowance for singles will go up by at least $19.10 a fortnight, with the maximum figure an extra $41.40 a fortnight.
Austudy recipients will see an increase to their rate of between $32.40 and $41.40 a fortnight depending on their living arrangements and if they have dependent children.
But ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said this routine indexation is simply not enough to ensure the income support payments people receive is enough money to live off.
“The routine indexation of payments on January 1 does not deliver the real increase that so many people desperately need,” said Dr Goldie.
“Income support payments were woefully inadequate before the prices of food, rent, medicines, energy and other essentials skyrocketed and they will still be totally insufficient after indexation.”
Those who receive the rent assistance get $75.80 per week for a single adult.
Dr Goldie said working age income support payments should be lifted to at least $73 a day and rent assistance should be lifted by 50 per cent.
“Youth Allowance and Austudy payments are only indexed once a year and are even lower than other income supports,” she said.
“Even with 6.1 per cent indexation, Youth Allowance will increase by $16.20 per week to $281.40 for a single person living away from home. That’s just $40.20 a day.
Dr Goldie said delivering a significant increase to Youth Allowance and JobSeeker would prevent people from living well-below poverty levels.
“As one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, it is unconscionable that we continue to refuse to end poverty, but will proceed with billions in tax cuts for the wealthiest who already have more than enough,” she said.
“The federal government must take action to change this by lifting income support payments to at least $73 a day in the May Budget.”