Employee reward and benefits news
Welfare reform 'will help more Australians into work'
Welfare reform would make it easier for out-of-work Australians to find jobs and begin accessing employee benefits, a unions group has claimed.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) said major changes are needed in the income support system to help the unemployed find decent, secure work.
ACTU president Ged Kearney called for a $50-a-week increase in the Newstart payment, claiming that the benefit has not increased in real terms since the 1990s and barely covers basic living costs, let alone the expense of searching for a job.
She said the rate of income support is now less than a fifth (18 per cent) of the average wage in Australia and is regarded as a "major contributor" to long-term poverty and unemployment.
"Allowing unemployment support payment to erode over time doesn't just affect people who are currently out of work; it exposes all workers to greater risk of poverty if they lose their job," added Ms Kearney.
In a submission to a government inquiry into allowances, the union group called for a rise in the Newstart payment and an increase in the level at which it is withdrawn when recipients begin work.
Posted by Editorial Team