Monday, March 18, 2013
Pensioners are about to get a supersized pay rise while Australians living on Newstart get a comparative pittance.
From Wednesday the take-home pay for single pensioners will jump by an extraordinary $35.80 per fortnight. Couples will get an extra $54.00.
The increase will lift the total fortnightly payment for a single pensioner to $808.40. It is made up of the scheduled half-yearly increase of $22.30 and the new carbon energy supplement of $13.50 per fortnight.
The first nine months of the energy supplement were paid in a lump sum ahead of the start of the carbon tax on July 1.
From Wednesday the supplement will paid each fortnight along with the pension. The Coalition has promised to remove it should it take office and abolish the carbon tax.
But unemployed Australians on Newstart will get much less. The single Newstart benefit will climb by $4.40 per fortnight - a mere fraction of the $22.30 to be given to pensioners.
The Newstart carbon energy supplement is $8.40 per fortnight, much less than the $13.50 given to single pensioners.
The combination means unemployed Australians will get just one-third of the increase offered to pensioners on Wednesday: $12.80 per fortnight instead of $35.80.
Originally in line with the pension, Newstart began slipping in 1997 when the Howard government guaranteed to index the pension by at least the increase in male earnings but left NewStart linked to the consumer price index...The consumer price index has climbed little since. In the year to December it grew 2.2 per cent while male earnings climbed 5.5 per cent.
From Wednesday the single Newstart payment will be $497.00 per fortnight. The pension will be $794.90.
Calculations by the NSW Social Policy Research Centre suggest Newstart will shrink to just one third of pension by 2050 unless the system is changed.
Labor backbenchers are lobbying the Treasurer to announce a $100 per fortnight increase in Newstart in the May budget. It would cost $1.2 billion per year.
In the last budget the government gave Newstart recipients an extra $8 per fortnight as part of a “Spreading the Benefits of the Boom” package which was to have been funded by the mining tax. The Coalition will axe the payment if it takes office and repeals the tax.
In today's Sydney Morning Herald and Age
. Revealed - the truth about Newstart they don't want you to hear
. September: Here's 20 cents, don't spend it all at once
. Contemptible spin. Pension up $17.10 per fortnight, Newstart up $2.90