Bill's Media Releases

Bill passes to support more Australians into work

Legislation which delivers an additional $300 million to help job seekers transition into work passed the Federal Parliament today.

The Social Security Amendment (Supporting Australians into Work) Bill 2013 provides Australians receiving income support with greater incentives and support to find and keep a job.

It builds on the Government’s $1.1 billion Income Support Bonus that began in March and provides $210 a year to singles on income support and $350 a year for couples.

The changes allow Australians on income support to be able to earn $100 a fortnight—up from $62—before their payment is reduced.

For the first time in Australia’s history the Income Free Area will be indexed by CPI from 1 July 2015, ensuring the real value of this reform is maintained over time.

Allowing job seekers to earn and keep more of their payments provides greater support to help smooth the transition to paid work and extra assistance to undertake study and training.

800,000 Australians on income support will be able to earn up to $38 more a fortnight before their payments are affected, through an increase to what is known as the Income Free Area.

About 150,000 Australians on income support who earn more than $62 a fortnight are expected to benefit immediately with an average increase of $19 a fortnight to their payments, or an average of $494 a year.

A further 650,000 people on income support stand to benefit from 20 March 2014 if they take up work.

The legislation also includes a $39.7 million investment over the next four years to provide tens of thousands of single parents on Newstart Allowance with extra help for study and training by extending access to the Pensioner Education Supplement (PES).

PES is a supplement paid at a rate of $62.40 per fortnight or $31.20 per fortnight for a concessional study load.

From 1 January 2014, all single principal carer parents receiving Newstart Allowance who take up approved study will be entitled to PES to help them gain valuable skills and qualifications to compete in the labour market.

Around 115,000 additional single parents will be eligible to take up the education and training supplement the next four years.

Single parents will be entitled to additional support through a $2.2 million investment that extends access to the Pensioner Concession Card and helps smooth the transition to work.

The Pensioner Concession Card entitles holders and their dependents to potential benefits from bulk‑billed GP appointments, reduced out-of-hospital medical expenses and medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at the concessional rate.

Single parents who become ineligible for the Parenting Payment due to the age of their youngest child and who do not qualify for any other income support payment due to their earnings will have access to benefits under the Pensioner Concession Card for 12 weeks.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberley Gardiner 0421 697 660