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'It won't stop people going without food and essential medication': ACOSS to front CALC

People relying on social security deserve more than $2.85 extra a day, ACOSS will tell a Senate inquiry examining the slated increases to JobSeeker and other Commonwealth payments.

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Acting ACOSS CEO Edwina MacDonald will on Tuesday (July 18) front the Community Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry looking at the Strengthening the Safety Net Bill. ACOSS supports the legislation but highlights that JobSeeker will still only be $52.85 a day when it is increased in September, while Youth Allowance will be lifted to just $42.85 a day. This is well below both the ACOSS ask of at least $76 a day in line with the Age Pension, and the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee recommendation of 90% of the pension rate. “While any increase to income support is a step in the right direction, the additional money announced in the May budget isn't nearly enough to stop people going without food and essential medication,” she said. "We support the immediate passage of the legislation but we urge the federal government to commit to a substantial rise in social security payments as soon as possible to ensure people have enough to cover the basics.” Canberra university student Sam Thomas will appear alongside Ms MacDonald to detail their experience relying on Commonwealth payments. “I only receive $660/fortnight including rent assistance and am currently struggling to survive. Life on government benefits has always been hard, but the increase in cost over the last two years has made it extreme. “I can now only afford two meals a day and the stress and loss of dignity is excruciating. When walking home along freezing streets, I have to come to terms that I'm one more rent rise away from living there. “Even when I get the occasional bit of work, I am still going backwards. It's only a matter of time until things hit zero.”


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