Legislation for national commission to improve social welfare
Federal Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan will introduce a Bill to Parliament on Monday, calling for an independent body to assess social welfare payments to ensure they meet recipients’ basic needs.
The proposed legislation comes after respondents to Ms McGowan’s 2018 Indi Budget Survey listed social welfare in the top five concerns. It also reflects the dozens of calls received each month to Ms McGowan’s office relating to Centrelink payments and pensions.
Ms McGowan said the low rates of social welfare payments were hindering people looking for work, preventing them from attending interviews or purchasing appropriate work wear.
The Bill calls for a Social Security Commission to be introduced. It would independently assess and determine the rates of payments, such as the Newstart Allowance, and provide recommendations to the government.
“There is disconnect between the level of welfare payments and how they support people into employment. While this Bill is not calling for an immediate raise in payment amounts it provides for an independent person to look at the system and create fairer payments across the board,” Ms McGowan said
“The aim is to get the experts to take a look at the level of social security payments that will provide for basic needs and support recipients to gain employment and provide for everyday needs.”
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) as well as Indi-based Anglicare, Uniting Care and Catholic Social Services Australia groups have been consulted in development of the Bill.
“Adequate Social Services provision was ranked number four in the top five concerns by respondents to the 2018 Indi Budget Impact Survey. This Bill will ensure that ,” Ms McGowan said.