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Election might deepen the poverty trap

May 17, 2013, 00:00 AM by Anglicare Australia

It seems the concerns of the poorest and most disadvantaged in the community are just not important in the upcoming election, Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers said today.

“While it was bitterly disappointing there was no increase in the Newstart Allowance in this year’s Budget, we did welcome the lift in the tax free threshold to $100 per fortnight, which is indexed for the first time,” Ms Chambers said.

“Last year, similarly, we welcomed the supplementary allowance because it was a de facto acknowledgment that Newstart is simply inadequate. That is why the unanimous support yesterday for Adam Bandt’s motion in the House of Representatives that the rate of Newstart is too low was so very welcome.

“However, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s budget-in-reply last night dealt a blow to people on low incomes, cementing the fact that their needs don’t appear to count in in this year’s electoral contest.

“According to Mr Abbotts’ speech, a Coalition government would cut the twice a year supplementary allowance to people on benefits and the Low Income Superannuation Contribution, as well as delay for two years the compulsory increase in super contributions.

“These are all measures that will impact on the most disadvantaged people in our society - those completely out of work as well as those with insecure jobs.

“It is unfortunate they have been framed as funding tax cuts that will benefit those better off. It simply encourages all of us who are better off to believe that our interests are opposed to those who are doing it toughest.

“Anglicare Australia welcomes the commitment to revisit the Henry Tax review, but reminds the Coalition that a key feature of that paper was a permanent increase in Newstart and Youth Allowances to more realistic levels.”