Budget Modesty means Living Allowances Remain in Poverty

AYAC welcomed last night’s budget measures that support a fair go for young Australians, but continues to call on the Gillard government to ensure that financial assistance is raised to levels that ensure young Australians are not living below the poverty line.

“Young people are already disadvantaged in the labour market and financial hardship further alienates young people from completing education or finding work,” Andrew Cummings, Executive Director of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition.

AYAC has previously joined a chorus of community leaders calling on the government to increase payments by $50 per week. However, the new Supplementary Allowance announced in the budget falls well short of this offering approximately $4.04 per week to singles and $3.37 per week to each person in a low-income relationship. Clearly, this is a step in the right direction – but it falls well short of the mark.

AYAC is also concerned that budget savings of $685 million over four years have been pulled from parents of young people and children.  Newstart payments to many single parents will reduce by almost $60 per week when their child turns 8 years old. Significant physical, emotional and cognitive development occurs between the ages of 8 and 16 years and adding financial stresses to their sole parents can only do damage that will last a lifetime.

However, AYAC does point to signs of a fair go budget for young Australians, including the first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and details of the Remote Jobs and Communities Program. Both these programs have the capacity to deliver real benefits for young people with particular needs.

CLICK HERE to read the complete media release (PDF).