Some Australians have started to benefit from recent welfare changes, but supporters say more needs to be done to fight the insurgency cost of living pressures.
The one-time, doubled cost-of-living concession payment was expected to relieve about 192,000 people, who would receive up to $449 in cash directly into their bank accounts.
SA Premier Peter Malinauskas said it was the largest payment to date by the state government to concession card holders and low-income earners.
Low earners and pensioners in South Australia were recently given financial relief when the state government submitted a Centrelink-related budget commitment
Under the concession scheme, homeowners received $449 while renters received $224.60 per household.
Homeowners who are self-funded retirees with a Commonwealth Senior Health Card also received $224.60 per household.
While the payment was welcome, Mission Australia chief executive Sharon Callister told NCA NewsWire that anyone receiving income support was at a loss if payments were kept below the poverty line.
“Across the country, people are skipping meals, are socially isolated, cannot afford to heat or cool their homes, or are being forced into homelessness because they cannot pay rent,” she said.
“A one-off payment may ease the pain in the short-term, but it doesn’t help solve the long-term problems.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is pictured before his speech on Friday April 2
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was vague when discussing JobSeeker during the week after Secretary Amanda Rishworth said there would be no JobSeeker repeal in the October budget.
“Every year we will look at JobSeeker and other payments, what you would expect from Labor governments,” Mr Albanese told ABC radio in Sydney.
“The last time we were in office, we had the biggest pension increase in Australian history.”
Ms Callister said Australia’s income support safety net must be adequate to protect people from poverty and adequately help people find work when they are able.
“The Jobseeker rate at $46 a day is still grossly inadequate and can actually prevent people from going back to work,” she said.
“No one can survive, let alone thrive and get back to work if they cannot afford transport to interviews, appropriate clothing or stable housing.
“The federal government’s refusal to increase JobSeeker condemns people to live in poverty and pushes them into homelessness.
“Income support urgently needs to be increased as cost-of-living pressures escalate and the housing crisis worsens.”
The one-time, dual cost-of-living concession payment aimed to relieve approximately 192,000 people, who received up to $449 in cash directly into their bank accounts (Centrelink queues pictured).
Similarly, Mr. Albanese is under pressure to bring forward his cheaper childcare policy, which could save families up to $11,000 a year.
The federal government will increase childcare subsidy rates for any family earning less than $530,000 — at a cost of $5.4 billion over four years — but it won’t start until July 2023.
The government is facing calls to bring it forward to January, but Mr Albanese has so far refused to budge.
Ms Callister said Mission Australia is a member of the Thrive by Five campaign, which is an initiative of the Minderoo Foundation.
“(We support) efforts to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of early childhood education for young children,” she said.
Childcare costs have risen faster than housing or electricity costs, according to the campaign website.
“A family with two children in childcare can shell out $25,000 a year in childcare costs,” it said.
“Families who want to work more than three days a week are discouraged because the costs are higher than the wages earned.”