Extra funding only equates to $4 more a week
AN EXTRA $1.1 billion in funding will boost welfare recipients with a twice yearly payment of $105, but the payment equates to only a $4 a week rise, despite furious lobbying for a $50 a week increase.
New laws creating the payment were passed by the Senate on Monday, despite opposition from the Coalition.
And while the Greens supported the extra payment, Senator Rachel Siewert said it was not enough, after numerous calls from social services, unions and business groups for a $50-a-week rise to most welfare payments.
Employment Minister Bill Shorten said the first payments from the new Income Support Bonus would begin to flow within weeks.
"This battler's bonus will help people receiving income support to cope with unexpected cost of living expenses - things like medical bills and urgent car repairs that are difficult to plan for," he said.
"This Government recognises that people who rely on income support can find it very tough to manage unexpected costs, and we know that many Australians are feeling the pinch of rising cost of living pressures," Mr Shorten said.
But Senator Siewert said the Greens were dismayed that the government's response to the appalling state of the Newstart Allowance was a dismal increase.
"People on Newstart deserve better than this dismal increase, when the evidence about Newstart's inadequacy is so clear.
"Parents and their children are hurting as a result of the Government's cruel $700 million cash-grab which cut single parenting payments for more than 100,000 parents and their families.
"The Greens are again the only party standing up in Parliament and working to deliver better assistance for people who are struggling.
The payments were tax-free, not means-tested and would be indexed to rise each year in line with the consumer price index.
Single welfare recipients will receive two six monthly payments of $105 each, while couples who are both on welfare will get up to $350.
Government allowances that will get the boost include Newstart, Abstudy, Austudy, parenting payment, sickness allowance, youth allowance and exceptional circumstances payments.