QAI made a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs on the Inquiry into the Adequacy of Newstart.
Here is an excerpt from the submission of our recommendations:
- Many Australians, including many Australians with disability, have inadequate financial means to support an acceptable standard of living. This has significant ill effects on their physical and mental health, ability to engage in socially, in education and work, and for some, their ability to raise and nurture children. This is an important issue that requires redress.
- Budget standards, such as those developed by the Social Policy Research Centre of the University of New South Wales, should be used to inform the minimum levels of income support payments.
- An individual approach should be taken to determining housing support for people with disability, to support independent living in the community.
- Urgent measures are required to address unemployment and under-employment of people with disability. The Government should implement measures to assist people living in poverty, to ensure poverty ceases to be a barrier to entry to the workforce.
- All workers, including workers with disability, should be paid at a rate equal or greater to the minimum award wage for the particular industry in which the worker is engaged. The supported wage system, and specialist disability employment enterprises, must be abolished.
- The current Disability Employment Services (DES) model should be replaced by appropriate, individually-tailored, continuing support for people with disability within the workplace.
- No one should be penalised for fluctuations in their income. The interface between income support and payment of wages must be transparent and easily understood to ensure that there are no financial disincentives for working, whether actual or perceived.
- The government should maintain the distinction between pensions and allowances. Persons with disability should not be transitioned to Newstart Allowance as a budget-saving measure. The rates of pensions and allowances should be increased in accordance with current research and international best practice.
- Students with disability must be provided with improved inclusive educational supports.
- Independent expert evidence should inform decision-making around income support payments.
You can read the full submission here.