ACOSS strongly welcomes news this morning that the government’s Industrial Relations Bill will pass parliament next week.
ACOSS also welcomes the Government’s historic commitment, as part of an agreement with Senator Pocock, to create an independent, legislated advisory panel to review and report publicly on economic inclusion and adequacy of income support payments in advance of federal budgets including May 2023. The new Economic Inclusion Advisory Panel will be led by the Treasurer and Social Services Minister, and bring together experts, advocacy groups and peak bodies. This announcement is a game-changer commitment which should create a clear structure and pathway to securing adequate income support payments that can cover the basics because no-one can survive on $48 a day. On the anticipated passage of the Industrial Relations bill, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “This is great news for low-paid workers, especially women, who stand to achieve better pay under this legislation.
“The bill will improve outcomes for gender equity, job security, as well as improve pay and quality of employment in care and community sectors. It is vital government funding is adequate to secure these outcomes for the care and community sectors, so that actual costs can be met.
“We congratulate the government for progressing this bill, our colleagues in the union movement, the community sector and the parliament for working together to achieve this outcome.”
On the new Economic Inclusion Advisory Panel, Dr Goldie said: “This is an important step to recognise the structural issues in our income support system that entrench poverty and disadvantage, and we congratulate the Albanese Government and Senator Pocock for securing this historic outcome including the agreement to legislate this process.
“We welcome the government’s commitment to hear from the experts on these issues in the lead up to May 2023 and future budgets. Importantly, this should include the voices of people who are experts by experience, people with direct experience of poverty and income supports.
“It will be crucial that the government acts on the Committee’s recommendations, which will no doubt shine a light on the inadequacy of JobSeeker and related payments to meet essential costs.
“We know the inadequacy of these payments forces people to go without food and without essential medicines, and that an adequate increase to income support payments is needed urgently right now. People on JobSeeker and other income support payments are suffering poor health, losing their homes, and going without other basic goods and services because no one can survive on $48 a day. We cannot let this continue now, and we cannot end up here again.
“Today’s announcements deliver great news for low paid workers as well as a clear structure for securing adequate income support payments in the May budget and beyond so that everyone, with and without paid work, can cover the cost of the basics.”