Australian Greens spokesperson for social services, Senator Janet Rice, has scoffed at Minister Rishworth’s assertion this morning that there is simply no room in the October budget to lift income support.
Senator Rice said:
“Poverty is a political choice.
“This ‘would that it were’ pretence of having no room in the budget to raise Jobseeker because of the former government, but that otherwise Labor would love to help struggling Australians, is as absurd as it is hypocritical.
“Labor can find plenty of room in the budget to give billions in welfare to people like Clive Palmer, but nothing for Jobseekers.
“Here’s an idea: instead of handing out over $243 billion in Stage 3 tax cuts for the rich, raise the rate of income support payments for people living in poverty.
“We are in a cost of living crisis and people can’t even afford the basics to get by. Minister Rishworth is choosing to make life harder and more stressful for people on income support.
“Labor is about to host the Jobs Summit, yet they’re ignoring people on starvation-payments and have no plan to help people on Jobseeker cover the costs associated with looking for a job.
“There’s no daylight between Labor and the Coalition when it comes to the millions of Australians living in poverty.
“Parliament must respond to the cost of living impacts for people on starvation wages and income support. The Greens are fighting for a livable income guarantee that would raise payments to $88 a day, above the poverty line.”