The Gillard Government will provide more than $1.1 billion over the next four years to help people who receive income support allowance payments manage unexpected cost of living expenses.
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, and Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, today announced that from March 2013 allowance recipients would receive a tax-free, twice-yearly Supplementary Allowance.
“Many Australian households are feeling the pressure on their household budgets and families receiving Government allowances are some of our most vulnerable citizens,” Mr Shorten said.
“Some recipients of allowances can find it hard to manage unexpected costs, such as urgent repairs on the family car or appliances, bills that are higher than expected, or unforeseeable medical or dental costs.
Protecting the living standards of low and middle income Australians and the community’s most vulnerable people has been the number one priority of the Gillard Government from day one - this important measure reflects that commitment.”
Recipients of Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment Partnered, Parenting Payment Single (who are not in receipt of the existing Pension Supplement), Austudy, ABSTUDY (Living Allowance), Sickness Allowance, Exceptional Circumstances Payment, Transitional Farm Family Payment or Special Benefit will be eligible for the allowance, which will be paid in two instalments in March and September each year.
Senator Evans said the $210 a year for a single person ($105 per instalment) and $175 for a person who is a member of a couple ($87.50 per instalment) would be indexed twice yearly by the Consumer Price Index to keep pace with inflation, would not be means tested and is tax-free.
“The Supplementary Allowance will help over one million allowance recipients each year to help them prepare better for unexpected costs,” Senator Evans said.
“Combined with doubling the Liquid Assets Waiting Period thresholds, this measure will help both new and long-term income support recipients to manage, and to be more resilient to, unanticipated expenses.”