More than one million Australian income support recipients, including those on Newstart and single parents, will receive an Income Support Bonus from today as the Gillard Government’s $1.1 billion battler’s bonus comes into effect.
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said the bonus will help households cope with unexpected costs like urgent repairs on the family car or essential appliances, medical expenses, or bills that are higher than expected.
“This cash bonus will help Australians who are doing it tough and don’t always have enough money at their disposal to manage costs which are difficult to plan for,” Mr Shorten said.
“The Income Support Bonus will provide more than one million Australians with $210 extra each year for eligible singles and $350 to eligible couples.
“We recognise that people who rely on income support often find it hard to manage unexpected costs and we understand that many Australians on income support are feeling the pinch of rising cost of living pressures.”
Allowances attracting the bonus include Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment, Sickness Allowance, Special Benefit, Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Austudy, Transitional Farm Family Relief Payment and Exceptional Circumstances Payment, the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme, and the Veterans’ Children’s Education Scheme.
The payments are tax-free—not means tested—and will keep pace with inflation. Payments will be made in two installments in March and September each year.
“Recipients will receive the Income Support automatically, there’s no need to apply, and no extra paperwork to fill out,” Mr Shorten said.
“This Government’s first priority is a fair job for every Australian who is willing to work.”
“The Income Support Bonus gets the balance right – helping disadvantaged Australians while doing everything we can to move people into paid work. The Income Support Bonus will go to some of our most disadvantaged Australians while being delivered as part of the responsible fiscal management by this Government.”
From today Newstart recipients will also receive an increase to their payments through Labor’s Household Assistance package.
For those receiving the Newstart Allowance, the new Clean Energy Supplement will be worth $218 per year for singles and $394 per year for couples combined. The Clean Energy Supplement will be paid fortnightly along with income support payments.
“It should not be overlooked that the Coalition voted against the Income Support Bonus and Household Assistance Package in February. This came on the back of Tony Abbott’s January confirmation at the National Press Club that the Coalition intends to reintroduce superannuation taxes by up to $500 on 3.6 million low-paid Australians, including 2.1 million women.”
“It is becoming increasingly clear the Liberals are reverting to type and have millions of low-paid Australians in their sights,” Mr Shorten said.
“Tony Abbott and the Coalition have promised to claw back every dollar of support Labor is now delivering Income Support Recipients under the Household Assistance Package”.
“This means every-single Income Support Recipient – more than 1 million Australians – would lose hundreds of dollars a year under a Coalition Government,” Mr Shorten said.
Mr Shorten’s Media Contact: Sam Casey—0421 697 660