Close Search
News  |  Social IssuesWelfare

Welfare support crucial to passing of IR bill

28 November 2022 at 4:33 pm
Danielle Kutchel
The sector’s hard work in advocating for the rights of those on welfare pays off.

Danielle Kutchel | 28 November 2022 at 4:33 pm


Welfare support crucial to passing of IR bill
28 November 2022 at 4:33 pm

The sector’s hard work in advocating for the rights of those on welfare pays off.

Senate kingmaker David Pocock is signalling he will support the federal government’s industrial relations bill, in exchange for action on support payments.

The government struck a deal with Pocock that includes an independent yearly review of support payments, including JobSeeker.

See more: Could you live on $46 a day?

The review will be conducted by an independent Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, led by Treasurer Jim Chalmers and social services minister Amanda Rishworth. It will have up to 12 members, including a chair, and will provide advice to the government on economic inclusion, including the adequacy, effectiveness and sustainability of income support payments ahead of each federal budget. 

It will report its findings and recommendations publicly, but the findings will not be binding on the government.

Members will include social security academic experts, representatives from key relevant advocacy organisations, unions, business peak bodies, the philanthropic sector and economists.

In a statement, the two ministers said they would appoint the members of the committee, with an interim committee to be established before the end of the year.

Sector’s win

The social services sector has long advocated for an increase to welfare payments, and has engaged with the government and Pocock during the IR bill debate.

Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO, said the organisation had “been pushing for a real increase to income support payments for many years”.

“We have continued this engagement with the government, and parliamentarians across political divides since the beginning of this term of parliament and including during the parliamentary sitting week last week,” she said.

“This [panel] 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.

“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.”

Goldie congratulated the government, union movement, community sector and parliament for “working together” on the bill’s creation and passage.

Mission Australia said the creation of the new committee is a “promising step towards adequately increasing income support, addressing poverty and ending homelessness”.

“This panel is a great step towards ensuring the Government can take heed of direct, expert advice on the links between inadequate income support and poverty and homelessness in Australia,” Mission Australia CEO Sharon Callister said.

She added that the panel of experts should include people with lived experience of poverty, homelessness and income support.

“We urge the Government to act swiftly on the panel’s recommendations, which we hope will focus on increasing income support to a rate that keeps people out of poverty and homelessness,” she said.

Lin Hatfield Dodds, CEO of The Benevolent Society, praised the development of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee as “a classic example of smart strategic policy” and a “landmark decision”.

“The advice of the committee will shape the context of public debate and policy development, drawing attention to income inequality, and what can be done about it. We understand that the committee’s mandate will include the level and structure of income support, which is welcome,” she said in a statement.

“It is well known that current levels of support are so low they are undermining people’s attempts to seek suitable work. I am confident that the expertise of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee will help find ways to address these challenges.”

She added the industrial relations bill itself would “pave the way to lifting wages for low-paid workers and provide tremendous benefit for Australia’s care economy”.

Danielle Kutchel  |  @ProBonoNews

Danielle is a journalist specialising in disability and CALD issues, and social justice reporting. Reach her on or on Twitter @D_Kutchel.


The story of the PM's mum must be a catalyst for change

Margaret Ambrose

Tuesday, 23rd August 2022 at 3:21 pm

Abolishing the Cashless Debit Card is a good first step

David Tennant

Monday, 11th July 2022 at 1:53 pm

National day of action to raise the rate

Cassandra Goldie

Tuesday, 26th April 2022 at 4:26 pm

Could you live on $46 a day?

Wendy Williams

Wednesday, 13th April 2022 at 2:28 pm

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook