In this case ACOSS takes aim at the Abbott gov's priorities in the lead up to next month's budget. Saying clearly that if there is to be budget pain, making poor people poorer isn't the way to go. That in fact getting the poor to bear the most budget pain is wrong.
The Australian Council of Social Service today urged the Federal Government to prevent unnecessary cuts to vital payments for some of the most disadvantaged people on the lowest incomes in the country, as it prepares its first Budget.Even if there was a token gesture to the most well off (1% levy for 4 years for people earning over $80,000 a year) to cut pensions where there is no room to cut would grossly impact budget pain to the poorest and lowest earners in our country.
“If proposals under discussion were implemented, pensions for people with a disability, carers, sole parents and older people would be much lower in future and people on the lowest incomes could not afford to visit the doctor when they need to,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
“In his speech last night the Prime Minister said, ‘'this budget won't be for the rich or the poor but for the country'. Yet so far it appears that most of the pain will be borne by people who can least afford it.
“We urge the Government to stand firm in its commitment to target government funding to the people who need it. This is a Budget that should be there for people who are poor, including the almost 600 000 children living in poverty.
Government support for people who do not need assistance should be targeted, by reducing tax concessions, rebates and supplements which are benefiting people in the higher income brackets in our society. This would be good policy.
“Superannuation tax breaks cost the same as the age pension (around $40 billion a year) and one quarter of their value goes to the top 5% of wage earners. It’s time to put superannuation reform, and the generosity of the pension assets test, on the Budget agenda.
The Seniors Supplement and private health insurance rebates for ancillaries are also poorly targeted, and disproportionately benefit higher income households.
“A fairer alternative to cutting the payments and services most needed by people on low incomes is to restore budget revenue. The mooted ‘deficit levy’ could help pay more of the future cost of the NDIS and health care and avoid policies such as $6 GP co-payment that would harm people on low incomes, but it lacks a clear purpose and as it stands it is only temporary. It would be removed in a few years’ time, just when the budget is coming under the greatest pressure.
“Reducing indexation for pensions to inflation only instead of wage movements would inevitably increase poverty as people on the lowest income fall further behind the rest of the community. One of the main reasons Newstart Allowance is only $36 a day now is that it has only been indexed to the CPI for the last 20 years. more
Let me just give my example. My income after rent from the DSP. Anyone wanna take a guess at how much/little it is? I have $250 a week to pay for everything. That includes utilities, groceries, everything to do with actually living. There is not one fuckin cent to spare, and at times I've had no choice but to use the credit card or don't eat. I am now on the way again going into debt. I only hope that this debt can be kept under some sort of control until I can start drawing on my superannuation in 5 years time.
To cut my pension, over an invented "budget emergency", even if it means slowly starving me over the coming years, would probably be the cruelest and most heartless thing any gov has done to me in my 52 years of life.