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Four dollars extra per week won’t keep the wolf from the door

UnitingCare has welcomed a modest increase to income support payments, but hopes that more is coming in the 2013 budget.

UnitingCare Australia National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds says that low income Australians will be better off under new legislation which passed the House of Representatives on 5 February.

The Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Income Support Bonus) Bill 2012, will deliver $1.1 billion in supplementary allowances for people receiving Newstart, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment.

"We said after last year's budget, and I repeat now, that while this very modest allowance of effectively $4 a week falls well short of the $50 a week increase we called for, we hope it represents a down payment on a decent increase in unemployment benefits in the 2013 budget.

"We further hope every political party will put forward serious policies that will ensure every Australian has the means and opportunity to contribute to and be valued by their community.

"While the $1.1 billion is a very modest weekly increase for individuals, it does represent the first increase to Newstart in a very long time."

The UnitingCare network provides social services to over 2 million people each year in 1300 sites in remote, rural and metropolitan Australia. UnitingCare employs 35 000 staff and 24 000 volunteers.