The Business Council of Australia has made a submission to the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Social Security Amendment (Supporting More Australians into Work) Bill 2013.
The BCA supports the three proposed changes in the Bill, while noting that they constitute a very minor step towards addressing the issues raised in the committee’s inquiry into the adequacy of the allowance payment system.
The BCA has previously supported an increase in the rate of Newstart and other allowance payments. Such an increase must be considered as part of a comprehensive review of Australia’s tax and transfer system, and introduced when fiscal circumstances permit.
We believe the current rate of allowances falls below societal norms of adequacy. Extremely low rates of payment are often promoted as the best form of incentive to find work. By contrast, we believe that a better set of incentives is: tight eligibility for payments (particularly for people transferring from allowances onto Disability Support and other pension payments); improvements to employment services and training for jobseekers; and adequate rates of allowance for people in line with societal norms of a decent minimum standard of living.
The BCA supports the Bill on the basis that it will make a slight improvement to:
- the adequacy of allowances
- the reduction in the structural gap between pensions and allowances
- supporting people to maintain their links to the workforce.