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2015-16 Budget: It's time to index government allowances to the average male income to end financial hardship

Published: 12 May 2015

All the major political parties should commit to ending the financial hardship faced by Australians on government allowances during their preparations for the federal Budget today, says the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), Glenys Wilkinson.

‘The Liberal Party, the Nationals, the Labor Party and the Greens can improve the plight of Australians living below the poverty line by increasing these government allowances now, and then indexing them to the average male income rather than to the Consumer Price Index (CPI),’ said Ms Wilkinson.

She explained that while the Aged pension has been indexed to the average male income, Youth Allowance, Austudy and Newstart have been indexed to the CPI.

‘Due to the differences in indexation the value of Newstart Allowance has fallen by a third since 1997 in comparison to the aged pension,’ Ms Wilkinson said. ‘Youth Allowance and Austudy are now just 55 per cent of the pension.

‘Australia can afford to increase these allowances as the Australian Council of Social Services’ has clearly shown in its Budget Priority Statement 2015-2016.’

‘This federal Budget is an opportunity for all the major parties to start addressing the issues of poverty and hardship faced by people on Newstart and Youth Allowance. So many budgets have neglected them.’

The AASW represents over 8,500 professional social workers from around Australia, many of whom work with people who are dependent on government allowances and along the front line of poverty prevention.

To organise an interview with AASW Chief Executive Officer, Glenys Wilkinson, please contact:

Emma Pegrum
Media and Marketing Manager
Phone 02 6232 3911 Mobile 0408 200 191

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers