Report: Australian income support since 2000 – Those left behind

Coinciding with Anti-Poverty Week 2021 (17-23 October), this report is the second in the ACOSS and UNSW Sydney Poverty and Inequality Partnership’s COVID-19 Build Back Fairer Series.

The Report analyses the changes to key income support payments from 2000 to 2021. It provides a comparison of the changes to income support highlighting who has been left behind. Its purpose is to inform debate about how our income support system can be improved to deliver a fairer post-pandemic Australia.

Key findings include:

  • From June 2000 to 2021, Australia’s median household income has grown by 45% in real terms, and the minimum wage has risen by 23.5%.
  • Over the same period, the single Age Pension rose by 52%.
  • For sole parents with a child under eight, their payments have risen by 27.2%, whilst the payments of those with children over eight rose by just 7.9% over the twenty year period
  • The $25pw base rate increase delivered on 1 April 2021 by the Federal Government means that JobSeeker Payment has increased by 12% in real terms from July 2000 to June 2021 (which also includes the Energy Supplement introduced in 2013). Prior to this, the last time the payment was lifted above CPI was in 1994 when it rose by just $2.95pw.
  • The unemployment payment rate has fallen in comparison with the minimum wage since 2000, apart from the period when the Coronavirus Supplement was paid
  • The percentage of people receiving the lower unemployment payment who have a partial capacity to work (who may have previously been eligible for the DSP) has increased from 5% in 2007 to 33% in 2021
  • The percentage of sole parents receiving the lower unemployment payment JobSeeker has increased from 0% in 2000 to 28% in 2021
  • The payment rate of the Age Pension and the Disability Support Pension is much higher than that of JobSeeker when compared with the minimum wage.

Find out more or read the report.