Welfare rise still leaves hard road ahead for vulnerable Queenslanders
The biggest welfare increase in 30 years will be welcomed but won’t be enough to lift Queenslanders out of poverty, according to St Vincent de Paul.
CEO Kevin Mercer said the recent announcement of an increase of $25.70 a fortnight for single adult JobSeeker payments would be a small relief amid soaring cost of living and rent increases.
Rent Assistance, aged and disability support pensions, carer payments and ABSTUDY will also be increased from 20 September.
But Mr Mercer said it would take more to help those suffering through the ongoing state housing crisis and cost of living increases, as calls to the charity climbed well over 2,000 a week in recent months.
“Every day, our Members across the state hear from Queenslanders who are struggling to afford rent and food, or who can no longer find an affordable place to live,” Mr Mercer said.
“These increases are just compensation for the increased cost of living but is still not enough to live on – we can and should be doing more to prevent poverty and homelessness in our state and across Australia.”
Mr Mercer said increasing welfare payments and building more social homes were a much-needed part of the Federal Government’s agenda.
“It’s great to see our Federal Government has not ignored how much the increased cost of living is impacting low-income Australians,” Mr Mercer said.
“But even with the increase, the JobSeeker rate is still well below the poverty rate and the increase won’t even be enough to cover the average rent increase of the last 12 months.
“For example, the average unit renter in Brisbane would be paying $50 a week more than they were 12 months ago, while houses have averaged $75 more a week.”
St Vincent de Paul Queensland continues to stand by the Queensland Council of Social Services’ (QCOSS) calls to increase JobSeeker rates to at least $70 a day.