When: From 1 January 2015
What: All new applicants for the Newstart Entitlement, including people transferring to Newstart from other payments and existing recipients who are serving a serious non-compliance penalty, will be forced to wait a period of six months until they can receive any payment from Centrelink. After this waiting period of 6 months, Unemployed people will then be entitled to 6 months of Newstart provided they meet their obligations, before being placed back on a 6 month waiting list. This cycle will continue indefinitely.
There are a number of factors that could reduce the waiting period to the minimum waiting period (1 month) or increase this waiting period to the maximum (11 months)
Reduced Waiting period
The 6-month waiting period can be reduced by one month for each year the person has been in full-time paid employment, until the one month minimum waiting period is reached. Casual and Part-time employment history will be calculated “accordingly”. Each unemployed person will be required to provide evidence of their previous paid work to Centrelink to determine the duration of the initial working period.
Increased waiting period
During the waiting period, Unemployed people will have to attend regular appointments with a Job Agent and apply for 40 jobs per month. If Unemployed people fail to meet these obligations, they face an 8 week non-payment penalty which will kick in once they start to receive Newstart. In this case, the waiting period can increase to up to 11 months
Complications/exceptions: For those who already receive Newstart by 1 January 2015, these changes will only effect them on 1 July 2015.
Unemployed people who do not have a full capacity to work (i.e. their capacity is less than 30 hours), are in education or training, or have a significant disability will all be exempt from these requirements, as will those with parenting responsibilities.
Effect: The government has calculated that these cuts to Newstart will place a minimum of 100,000 people into extreme poverty per year. They have consequently given $230 million to charities over the next four years to deal with the rise in poverty and homelessness.
Cost/Savings: This cut to the Newstart will save Australia $1.2 billion over 3 years. This is compared to the $131 billion being currently spent on social security.
When: 1 July 2015
What: Upon receiving the Newstart Entitlement, all Unemployed people under the age of 30 will be required to do 25 hours of unpaid labour a week for six months.
Those between 30 and 49 will do 15 hours of Work for the Dole. Those Unemployed people between the ages of 50 and 60 will be required to do 15 hours a week of an “approved activity”.
Work for the dole task typically include low-supervision, menial tasks such as cleaning and labouring, but can include more bizarre activities.
Work for the dole will be mandatory for all jobseekers younger than 50 unless they are working part-time or, in limited cases, undertaking training for a specific job that is in demand in their local area.
Effect: When it is fully operational, 150,000 unemployed Australians each year will undertake Work For the Dole
Cost/Savings: This program, which also includes wage subsidies offered to employers who hire the long-term unemployed, will cost $5.1 billion over 3 years.
When: 1 July 2014
What: In 18 selected areas (mainly rural), unemployed people aged between 18 an 30 who are registered with a Job Services provider and have a Work Experience Requirement will be required to Work for the Dole for 12-15 hours per week
When: 15 September 2014
What: Serious failure waiver arrangements will be tightened for Unemployed, as well as those on Youth allowance (other), Parenting Payment Singles and Special Benefit.
A serious failure occurs when:
- An Unemployed person refuses or fails to accept an offer of a suitable job
- An Unemployed person is assessed as having no barriers that have significantly impacted on their participation requirements and is found to be persistently non-compliant.
The penalty for a serious failure is eight weeks non-payment.
Unemployed people who experience a serious failure for refusing or not starting work, or a second or subsequent serious failure for persistent non-compliance, will no longer be able to request a waiver due to hardship or by starting a Compliance Activity. They will be required to serve the 8 week penalty period.
When: 1 July 2014
What: Newstart and Youth Allowance rate will be frozen for three years.The eligibility thresholds for non-pension payments including Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate, Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payments and Youth Allowance will also be frozen for 3 years.
Effect: Newstart has not risen in real terms since 1994.
Under these changes, this will continue at least until 2017.
When: January 1 2015
What: The eligibility age for Newstart will rise from 22 to 25 years.
Effect: All under 25s who are unemployed will be entitled to around $100 less per fortnight.
7. Abolishment of Income Support Payment
When: July 2017
What: The bi-yearly Income Support Payments of $107.80 if you are single or $89.90 if you are partnered, will be abolished. This will apply to people on the following payments:
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- Farm Household Allowance
- Newstart Allowance
- Parenting Payment
- Sickness Allowance
- Special Benefit
- Youth Allowance
Effect: People on welfare will be forced deeper into poverty