Major boost for pensions as cost of living bites

Largest income boost in decades for millions

More than 4.7 million Australians struggling to cope with cost of living pressures are in line for a helping hand.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said an indexation increase to welfare payments to begin on September 20 would be the largest for allowances in more than 30 years, and 12 years for pensions.

“We want to ensure Australia has a strong social security safety net to protect our most disadvantaged,” she said on Monday.

“Our guiding principles as a government are ensuring no one is left behind and no one is held back … This indexation increase will help those on government payments keep up with the cost of living.”

The age pension, disability support pension and carer payment will all rise $38.90 a fortnight for singles and $58.80 a fortnight for couples.

The maximum rate of pension will increase to $1026.50 a fortnight for singles and $773.80 for each member of a pensioner couple or $1547.60 per couple.

Labor minister Clare O’Neil said there would be a review of the JobSeeker payment in May next year, defending her government against criticism the increases aren’t high enough.

“Australians are going to be significantly better off as a consequence of this, but there’s a lot more work to do, and that’s why we’re here in Canberra,” she told the ABC.

“We’re trying to bring the political parties and groups of Australians together so we can try to move some of the big issues in our country forward and certainly that issue around JobSeeker payments is one of them.”

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce said with the end of the fuel excise discount at the end of the month, cost of living pressures would increase further.

“Real pressures are going on people and unless you want them in poverty, they need to be supported,” he told Seven on Monday.

JobSeeker, parenting payment, ABSTUDY and rent assistance recipients will also get a top up.

JobSeeker for singles without children will increase $25.70 a fortnight to $677.20, while the payment for single parents will rise $35.20 a fortnight to $927.40.

The rate for partnered JobSeeker and parenting payment recipients will increase $23.40 a fortnight to $616.60.

The pension raise was driven by increases in the consumer price index that exceeded the increase in the pensioner and beneficiary living cost index.

Flagging the move in July, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government understood pensioners were doing it “incredibly tough when it comes to their costs of essentials like groceries, electricity and petrol and in other parts of the household budget”.

The increases also follow the government’s skills summit announcement that some pension recipients will be able to earn more without having payments reduced.

Topics: Pension
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