Prior to receiving the DSP, Ms. Thomson relied on the JobSeeker payment, but it paid less than $45 a day. This meant, sometimes, that she had to choose which basic necessity was the most important to satisfy.
After two stints before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, she managed to receive the funds needed to make ends meet – but only just.
“For me to have that [DSP] meant I could comfortably pay my rent, pay my bills. It was just all around security, and I wasn’t getting by with the bare minimum. I could afford to go to a doctor, I didn’t have to choose between filling a prescription and getting food,” she told SBS News.
The DSP payment is 35% higher than what JobSeeker recipients receive. This means that people with a pending application for DSP live below the poverty line.
She said she is still ‘limited’ because ‘it’s not a huge payment’, and wants to see more done to tackle welfare payment issues as the cost of living in Australia continues to soar.
His concerns come as the Greens launch their mammoth plan to increase income support payments so Australians will receive $88 a day – putting all welfare recipients above the poverty line.
The so-called Living Income Guarantee is the Greens’ costliest policy initiative and is expected to cost $88.7 billion over the four-year forecast period, according to analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office.
“We are giving people a…a guarantee that people will be lifted out of poverty and have the income they need to be able to cover the basic needs of life,” said the Greens’ spokesman for family, aging and community services. , Janet Rice, said.
Senator Rice said Ms Thomson’s experiences are real and can be a challenge that shouldn’t exist for people living in a “wealthy country”.
“We know the cost of living is a big issue in the upcoming election. Food prices are going up, petrol prices are going up.
“If you were ever…really struggling to get the basics together, it doesn’t take much to push you over the edge.
“We are a wealthy country, we can afford to have income support benefits which means people are not living in poverty,” she said.
The costs lie in taxing billionaires and corporations, through policy measures proposed by the Greens such as the so-called billionaire tax and corporate super-profits tax, which do not have the support of the main parties.
Senator Rice said the policy measures should be viewed as a package that will form a central part of their position if a hung parliament emerges following a federal election.
“It’s a choice. To have people living in poverty is a political choice. And that’s what we would put in the Labor Party (in the event of a hung parliament).”
She said the policy should stimulate the economy with recipients likely to spend it locally on non-discretionary spending.
“With these policies, you are able to lift everyone out of poverty, which also has huge economic benefits.
“The best way to have an economic stimulus is to put money in the hands of people who are struggling to get by, because every extra dollar they get, they’re going to spend it at the local supermarket to get basic provisions for themselves. It makes good economic sense.”
On Saturday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a
to help 5,000 young Australians find work through a pre-employment programme.
Neither Labor nor the Liberal Party have presented a plan to support a permanent increase in social security payments, as part of their election platform.
Calls for a permanent increase in social benefits like JobSeeker to allow people to live above the poverty line have the backing of the Australian Council of Social Service, the Business Council of Australia and Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe .