Salvation Army: Benefit increases too low

  • 19/08/2015
Salvation Army: Benefit increases too low

The Government's $25 increase to benefits isn't enough to get families out of poverty, the Salvation Army says.

MPs on Parliament's social services committee are hearing submissions on the Support for Children in Hardship Bill, which will bring in the benefit changes announced in this year's Budget.

Those changes include lifting benefit payments to families by $25 and increasing work requirements on parents.

The Salvation Army's Major Campbell Roberts says while his organisation appreciates some of the changes, they don't go far enough.

"The increase is insufficient to address the poverty and hardship that is impacting so many families that we work with," he said.

"To truly address hardship a more comprehensive approach is needed than this bill outlines."

The Salvation Army doesn't back moves to require parents to return to work when their child turns three, rather than the current age of five.

Major Roberts told MPs while work is an "important factor in helping to take people out of poverty", there is "clear evidence" it doesn't work for everyone in every situation.

"To put some sort of universal provision in this way is not helpful," he said.

"A more sophisticated, finely tuned policy response is required."

Major Roberts says those who came up with the proposed new measure don't have an adequate understanding of the nature and requirements of workplaces, or the nature and impact of poverty on families.

There are situations where the work on offer, for example overnight cleaning work or short-notice on-call casual care work, may not ultimately benefit families and children.

The Government wants the changes to benefits to come into effect on April 1 next year.