Australian news, and some related international items

Cutting clean energy supplement will hit the poor hardest

Axing clean energy supplement has barely caused a ripple, but it should, Guardian , 13 Aug 16   Although the amounts appear insignificant, the cuts in payments to new welfare recipients will hit hard for the most disadvantaged Australians For many people, $4.40 a week is a small sum – trivial even. A cup of coffee on the way to work, the parking change in the car console.

But for those Australians set to lose between $4.40 and $7.05 a week in one of the 45th parliament’s first legislative acts, many of them living below the poverty line, those small sums will make the dire choices of subsistence budgeting even more desperate.

The cuts will come from the abolition of the clean energy supplement, which varies according to the benefit: $4.40 a week for single unemployed, $7.05 a week for a single person on the aged or disability pension.

It’s a lethally clever way for the government to save $1.3bn over four years from 2.2 million of the most disadvantaged Australians, with less political blowback than other blunter attempts at welfare savings.

It’s lethal precisely because it seems like an insignificant amount, and because the cuts apply only to new welfare recipients, so no one actually loses anything they are now getting.

And, so the argument goes, the supplement was supposed to compensate for the carbon tax, and that got repealed, so the clean energy supplement has become an unnecessary and unjustifiable windfall. Something they don’t really need or deserve.

Perhaps that’s why it’s caused barely a ripple.

Except none of those arguments are true, and none can justify this cut to benefits, which both major political parties, and even the Business Council of Australia, have conceded for many years are way too low.

For those people affected, the amounts are not at all insignificant. For Rob, a disability support pensioner living in country Victoria and looking for work, losing $7 a week would mean cutting back further on heating, or possibly food……

Single parents are already struggling to pay for books or school trips.

And the impact will spread quickly. An unemployed person who takes a job and then loses it and reapplies for Newstart will no longer be eligible for the benefit. The government’s savings are based on estimates that within four years it will not be paying the supplement to 2.2 million people who would otherwise get it…….

August 15, 2016 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

1 Comment »

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    Comment by shopping | August 27, 2016 | Reply

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