Raise the rates

Raise the rates Main Image

The Albanese Labor Government believes in a strong, adequate and fair social security system that actively works to support Australians. 

Our social security system is designed to support Australians who need it for a range of reasons, whether it be because of their age, their health or disability status, or being unemployed. The purpose of JobSeeker is to support Australians who are unable to support themselves whilst they look for a job or have a temporary injury or incapacity. 

A key focus of the Albanese Government is on tackling the spiraling cost of living that is making life tough for too many Australians. 

The Labor Government is increasing working-age and student payments and Commonwealth Rent Assistance, as part of the May Budget’s $14.6 billion cost-of-living package. These increases are responsible and targeted to help vulnerable Australians under the pump. 

Rates of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment (Partnered), Austudy, ABSTUDY, Youth Disability Support Pension, and Special Benefit will rise by $40 a fortnight. This will benefit around 1.1 million Australians. 

We are also expanding eligibility for the existing higher rate of JobSeeker to single recipients aged 55 and over who have been on income support for nine or more continuous months, which currently applies from age 60. 

The Government will provide additional support to renters, with the largest increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) in more than 30 years. The Budget will increase the maximum rates of this payment by 15 per cent. 

The changes to working-age and student payments will help around 580,000 women, 318,000 young people (under 25), 150,000 First Nations Australians and 245,000 mature-aged Australians. 

Two additional payments will also receive the $40 per fortnight boost, Farm Household Allowance and the Self-Employment Allowance. 

Over the past ten years the proportion of mature-aged Australians on JobSeeker Payment has significantly increased. This cohort faces higher barriers to employment. 

Evidence shows they are more likely to be long-term JobSeeker Payment recipients, with people aged 55 and over remaining on income support payments for 25 per cent longer than those aged between 21 and 54. 

The majority of those who will benefit (55 per cent) from the expanded eligibility for the existing higher rate of JobSeeker to single recipients aged 55 and over are women. 

The new rates will commence from 20 September 2023, subject to the passage of legislation. Further indexation of eligible payment rates will also take place as usual on 20 September. 

Our responsible budget management ensures we can fund these targeted cost-of-living measures for vulnerable Australians. 

The increases are part of a suite of measures Labor is delivering in the 2023-24 Budget, including the Energy Price Relief Plan, and historic investments in Medicare, which all work together to help ease cost-of-living pressures.