Easing cost of living pressures for around two million Australians

Legislation passed in the Parliament today will provide targeted financial relief to millions of Australians.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Safety Net) Act 2023 will provide a boost to the social security safety net for those who need it most.

On 20 September 2023 the base rates of working-age and student payments including JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment (Partnered), Austudy, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Disability Support Pension (Youth), and Special Benefit will increase by $40 per fortnight. This will benefit around a million Australians.

Recognising the increasing number of mature-aged Australians receiving JobSeeker Payment and their additional barriers to employment, the age at which the higher rate of JobSeeker Payment for single recipients is paid will be reduced from 60 to 55 for those who have been on payment for nine continuous months.

Commonwealth Rent Assistance maximum rates will increase by 15 per cent, with around 1.1 million households better off by on average, $24 per fortnight.

Around 57,000 single parents, 90 per cent of whom are single mothers, with children aged eight and above will also now be eligible for the higher Parenting Payment (Single), adding at least $176.90 per fortnight to the support they receive until their youngest child turns 14.

Regular indexation of certain payments – such as JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment and Commonwealth Rent Assistance – will also occur on this date, meaning eligible recipients will receive both increases at the same time.

For example, after indexation changes, the new higher rate of JobSeeker Payment will be $749.20 per fortnight, and for recipients aged 55 years and over who have been on payment for nine continuous months it will be $802.50 per fortnight.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said these changes would benefit close to two million Australians including 580,000 women, 318,000 young people (under 25), 150,000 First Nations Australians and 245,000 mature-aged Australians.

“As part of the $14.6 billion cost of living package we announced in the 2023-24 Budget, we are increasing Jobseeker and student payments and Commonwealth Rent Assistance, providing a higher rate of JobSeeker Payment for older Australians, and expanding access to Parenting Payment (Single),” Minister Rishworth said.

“JobSeeker and other income support payments are about helping those in our community who need it for a period of time.”

“More broadly, it is important to remember these income support changes work alongside other cost of living relief in the Budget including help with power bills, record investment in Medicare bulk-billing and cheaper medicines. Millions of Australians will directly benefit from these measures – including Australians on income support.”

The changes deliver on the Government’s commitment of building a strong social security safety net that protects vulnerable Australians, and doesn’t stigmatise people for needing help.

“Our Government will continue to support those most in need to ensure no one is left behind or held back,” Minister Rishworth said.

More information about these changes can be found on the Department of Social Services website.