More than 5.5 million Aussies will see a welcome boost to their Centrelink payments and pensions from today, as part of the government’s regular indexation.
From September 20, Aussies receiving the Age Pension will receive a boost of $32.70 a fortnight for singles, taking payments to $1,096.70 a fortnight.
For couples, the pension rate will increase by $49.40 per fortnight, bringing the rate to $1,653.40.
Also read: Centrelink pay boost for 5.5 million Aussies
JobSeeker payments will be boosted by $56.10 a fortnight for singles, bringing base payments to $749.20. Couples will see an increase of $54.80 per fortnight to $686.
This includes the twice-yearly indexation, plus the $40-per-fortnight increase to working-age and student payments announced in the budget.
The base rate for older Aussies receiving JobSeeker will increase to $802.50 per fortnight. The age threshold to receive the higher rate will be lowered from 60 to 55 for those who have received the payment for nine continuous months.
Welfare advocacy organisation ACOSS said the increases don't go far enough, calling them "grossly inadequate".
ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said the higher JobSeeker rate is still less than half the minimum wage and below the poverty line.
“An incremental increase to the rate means nothing when it is so low to begin with. We’re punishing people for being unemployed and, perversely, making it as hard as possible for them to gain employment," Goldie said.
“It’s cruel to expect anyone to be able to meet the basic cost of living – buying food or medication, paying their bills or keeping up with rent to avoid becoming homeless.”
ACOSS is calling for the government to lift the JobSeeker rate to at least $78 a day, in line with the pension.
Full list of increases
Here are all the changes coming into effect on September 20:
JobSeeker and ABSTUDY Single, new base rate of $749.20 per fortnight - increase of $56.10
Parenting Payment Single, new base rate of $942.40 per fortnight - increase of $20.30
JobSeeker and Parenting Payment Partnered, new base rate of $686 per fortnight - increase of $54.80
Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment Single, new base rate $1,096.70 - increase of $32.70; Couple, new base rate of $1,653.40 - increase of $49.40
Single veterans on service pension, new rate of $1,096.70 per fortnight - increase of $32.70; Disability Compensation Payment (Special Rate), new rate of $1,729.20 per fortnight - increase of $53
Those on Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment (Partnered), Austudy, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Disability Support Pension (Youth) and Special Benefit will also receive the $40-per-fortnight increase. Youth Allowance and Austudy are only indexed once a year, on January 1.
Commonwealth Rent Assistance will increase by 15 per cent, plus regular indexation. For singles, it will increase by $27.60 per fortnight to $184.80. For families with one or two children, it will increase by $32.34 to $217.28 per fortnight.