The Australian Government will provide $40 million over four years to ensure newly unemployed Australians and students can keep more of their savings while looking for a new job or studying.
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, and Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, today announced that from 1 July 2013, applicants can have up to double the amount in liquid assets before being subject to the waiting period to receive Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Youth Allowance or Austudy.
The new thresholds will be set at $5000 for a single person (with no dependent children) and $10 000 for a person who is partnered or has a dependent child.
Protecting the living standards of low and middle income Australians has been a key priority of the Gillard Government from day one, and this important measure reflects that commitment.
“Unemployment is not something people plan for and reducing that person’s modest savings while they look for more work can put undue financial pressure on them,” Mr Shorten said.
“Previously, new claimants of Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Youth Allowance or Austudy who were single and had more than $2500 cash in the bank could be required to wait for up to 13 weeks before receiving assistance, and partnered people or parents had to wait for up to 13 weeks if they had more than $5000 cash.
“Around 21 000 people - 14 000 single and 7000 partnered or with dependent children - each year will begin receiving payment up to five weeks earlier under this measure.”
Senator Evans said the change would, along with the assistance from the new Supplementary Allowance, assist new income support recipients to manage ongoing costs and to be more resilient to unexpected expenses.
“The point is to ensure allowances are targeted at those who are most in need,” Senator Evans said.
“With this change, newly unemployed people and new students with modest savings are likely to be better supported to manage their financial position.”