Guide to Giving
NEWS  |  Careers, General

Dole Cuts Will Put Recipients 32% Below the Poverty Line

Monday, 8th August 2016 at 10:45 am
Wendy Williams, Journalist
Proposed cuts to unemployment benefits are “cruel” and could force recipients to a “historic” 32 per cent below the poverty line, according to new research.

Monday, 8th August 2016
at 10:45 am
Wendy Williams, Journalist



Dole Cuts Will Put Recipients 32% Below the Poverty Line
Monday, 8th August 2016 at 10:45 am

Proposed cuts to unemployment benefits are “cruel” and could force recipients to a “historic” 32 per cent below the poverty line, according to new research.

Man on the dole with empty wallet

A study by the Australia Institute has showed the level of financial support for the unemployed has fallen sharply since the early 1990s and is now 30 per cent below the poverty line.

According to researchers, the decision to remove compensation for the carbon tax could stretch the poverty gap by a further 2 per cent by June 2019 for those on unemployment benefits.

The research, Inequality & Poverty in Australia: The Case Against the Removal of the Clean Energy Supplement, also highlighted a “staggering inequality” in Australia with the 10 richest families possessing the same wealth as the poorest 3.9 million Australians combined.

Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said people on the dole were falling well below the poverty line and further cuts would increase inequality.

“At the time of the Sydney Olympics, a couple on unemployment benefits had enough income to put them on the poverty line. They are now 30 per cent below it,” Oquist said.

“Unbelievably the government plans to actually cut unemployment benefits as one the first acts of the new Parliament with the removal of the clean energy supplement for all new welfare beneficiaries.

“Despite years of work and reports arguing for the need to increase the dole including from the BCA [Business Council of Australia] the government is going to cut it by $8.80 per fortnight for singles and $7.90 each for couples, sending their income to an historic 32 per cent below the Henderson poverty line.”

government benefits v poverty line graph

Researchers argue the government’s position is contrary to the “growing consensus across business and the community sector” which is calling for income support to be increased, not decreased.

“Business groups, from KPMG to the BCA, recognise that unemployment benefits have reached such chronically low levels that it is diminishing opportunities to effectively bring people back into the workforce,” Oquist said.

“But the Coalition seems intent on cutting Australia’s shamefully low welfare support. It’s cruel, out of touch and will not benefit the Australian economy.”

It comes after the government announced plans in the 2016 budget to close carbon tax compensation to new recipients of government welfare benefits.

The move could save the government $1.4 billion over the forward estimates.

However, the cuts would affect the unemployed, pensioners, students, people with a disability and carers, with the study showing a single pensioner could be hit by $366 dollars per year.

Oquist said it stands in contrast to the pre-election budget which gave high-income earners a $315 a year tax cut in addition to those on more than $180,000 having the budget repair levy cut.

“The pre-election budget gave tax cuts exclusively to the highest income earners,” Oquist said.

“A policy which gives more to the richest while cutting support for people below the poverty line will only increase inequality in Australia,” Oquist said.

Wendy Williams  |  Journalist |  @ProBonoNews

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector.

Guide to Giving


NGO Recruitment is Australia’s not-for-profit sector recru...

NGO Recruitment


HLB Mann Judd is a specialist Accounting and Advisory firm t...

HLB Mann Judd

Helping the helpers fund their mission…...

FrontStream Pty Ltd (FrontStream AsiaPacific)

More Suppliers

Get more stories like this



Recruitment Expert Says NFPs Need Thorough Process to Hire Honest Candidates

Luke Michael

Friday, 22nd September 2017 at 4:50 pm

Disability Employment Advocates Welcomed into the Hall of Fame

Wendy Williams

Friday, 8th September 2017 at 4:41 pm

Disability Employment Sector Must Harness Platform Innovation

Wendy Williams

Friday, 8th September 2017 at 4:00 pm

Employment Organisation Reaches Out to Asylum Seekers Caught in the Crackdown

Wendy Williams

Monday, 4th September 2017 at 8:52 am


Moves to Stop Volunteering at Overseas Orphanages

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 13th September 2017 at 1:54 pm

Future Uncertain for Disability Organisations Following Funding Cuts

Wendy Williams

Tuesday, 19th September 2017 at 8:29 am

Majority of NFPs Are Not Believed to be Well-Run, According to New Survey

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 12th September 2017 at 4:14 pm

More Australians Are Giving Time Not Money

Wendy Williams

Monday, 11th September 2017 at 5:07 pm

One Comment

  • Moondyne Joe says:

    I Would like to suggest how if the dole is cut are people supposed to find a job , dress to be in some sort of contention, for a Job, have money to get to said possible Job, and survive if they dont have anything spare to do so
    the govt is proposing a catch 22 situation.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Guide to Giving
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

The social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!