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Federal Budget leaves poverty unaddressed

The Federal Budget delivered on 29 March fails to provide the keys to unlocking poverty for all Australians.  These are adequate income support above the poverty line and investment in social housing and rent assistance.  As ACOSS said, “although the government says this is a cost-of-living budget, it fails to deal with the biggest cost of living, which is housing.”

We need an urgent investment in 25,000 social housing properties as our partners Everybody’s Home has called for.  We also need a 50% increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance which hasn’t had a real increase for 22 years. This is when rents have jumped by an average of 9.7% in the past year and as much as 30% in some regional areas.

While we welcome the $250 one-off payment to all income support recipients, it is not a permanent solution to ongoing poverty and hardship for far too many individuals, families and children.  For sole parent families with one or two children it will cover the gap between what they pay in rent and what they receive in Commonwealth Rent Assistance for just one week. Even the Government’s own Treasury review concluded: “The maximum value of Commonwealth Rent Assistance has not kept pace with market rents, especially for low-income renters. There were more than 1.4 million households including age pensioners, people on disability pension and unemployed people who relied on this payment in late 2021.