Bill's Media Releases

More support for low-income earners, but Coalition says no

One million Australians are set to benefit from $1.1 billion in extra income support to cope with cost of living pressures following the passage of legislation through the House of Representatives today.

 The Bill passed the House despite the relentless negativity of the Coalition, who voted against this extra support.

 Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten welcomed the passage of the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Income Support Bonus) Bill 2012 through the House of Representatives.

 “This battler’s bonus will deliver more than $1.1 billion in extra payments over the next four years to help people receiving income support to cope with unexpected cost of living expenses,” Mr Shorten said.

 “The Gillard Government recognises that people who rely on income support benefits as their main source of income can find it very tough to manage unexpected costs.

 “There will always be things which are difficult to plan for – urgent repairs on the family car or essential appliances, medical expenses, or bills that are higher than expected.

 “I’m extremely disappointed Tony Abbott and the Liberals do not think these 1 million low-paid Australians are worthy of additional support.”

 Eligible Australians will begin receiving the Bonus after 20 March. Payments will be $210 extra per year for eligible singles, and $350 to most couples where both partners are eligible. 

 The payment is tax-free and is not means-tested, and will be indexed to the Consumer Price Index to keep pace with inflation. It will be paid in instalments in March and September each year.

 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, as well as payments made under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme, and the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme.

 The bill which passed the House of Representatives today includes amendments to the Social Security Act 1999, the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, the Farm Household Support Act 1992, and the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to give effect to the Income Support Bonus.

 Those eligible will not have to apply to receive the Income Support Bonus, as the payment will be made automatically by the Department of Human Services.

 “This Government’s first priority is a fair job for every Australian who is willing to work” Mr Shorten said.

 “The Income Support Bonus gets the balance right – helping disadvantaged Australians while doing everything we can to move people into paid work.” Mr Shorten said.

 The Coalition’s decision the vote against this important legislation comes on the back of Tony Abbott telling the National Press Club last week he plans to jack up 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’s Media Contact: Sam Casey — 0421 697 660