Release type: Media Release


Income Support Bonus Bill passes Parliament


The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation

More than $1.1 billion in extra income support payments will begin flowing to over one million Australians next month after key legislation passed Federal Parliament today.

The Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Income Support Bonus) Bill passed the Senate despite the relentless negativity of the Coalition, who once again voted against this extra support for people doing it tough.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said the passage of the bill through the Senate would see the first Income Support Bonus payments delivered within weeks.

“This battler’s bonus will help people receiving income support to cope with unexpected cost of living expenses—things like medical bills and urgent car repairs that are difficult to plan for,” Mr Shorten said.

“I’m extremely disappointed Tony Abbott and the Liberals do not think these one million low-paid Australians are worthy of additional support. It’s almost unbelievable as it comes on top of their 15 per cent super tax on 3.6 million low income earners.

“This Government recognises that people who rely on income support can find it very tough to manage unexpected costs, and we know that many Australians are feeling the pinch of rising cost of living pressures.”

Eligible Australians will begin receiving the bonus after 20 March 2013.

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

Payments will be $210 extra per year for eligible singles, and $350 to most couples where both partners are eligible.

The bonus, part of the 2012–13 Budget, will be paid automatically by the Department of Human Services and those eligible will not have to apply to receive it.

“The Income Support Bonus helps achieve the balance of helping some of our most vulnerable citizens while doing everything we can to help people into paid work,” Mr Shorten said.

The Income Support Bonus bill that passed the Senate 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.

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.