Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is calling on the Federal Government to Raise the Rate of JobSeeker and Youth Allowance in the May budget.
This follows strong recommendations by the Economic Inclusions Advisory Committee for the Government to prioritise a ‘substantial increase’ to the base rate of the JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance1. Tasked with advising the government in the lead up to the May budget, the Committee’s clear finding is that current rates of income support are ‘seriously inadequate’.2
The JobSeeker payment is only $50 a day, and Youth Allowance even less at $40 a day.3 This level of income support is insufficient for young people to live on. Analysis from Homelessness Australia tells us it leaves young people sharing a typical two-bedroom flat just $13 a day to survive.
Young people have told YACVic about the financial hardship living on these payments causes.
“Living on youth allowance is demoralising. It’s having to constantly think about what I need more, whether it be food or medicine, rent or bills,” shares Kurin, a young person living in rural Victoria.
“It’s a life of dependence, not just on government but the people who care about you in your life.”
We know these stresses are typical for young people relying on income support, with many regularly skipping meals and struggling to access essential services such as prescription medication.4
The struggle to survive on income support payments is echoed in the Committee’s report, with direct responses from young people about their experience with severe financial stress.5
“We welcome the Committee’s findings,” says YACVic CEO Katherine Ellis. “This was an issue even before the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis.”
“The government has an opportunity to address poverty and homelessness, and should lift income support payments to at least $76 per day, so young people are not living below the poverty line.”
YACVic has signed the Australian Council of Social Service’s Raise the Rate Open Letter to the Prime Minister, and encourages community sector allies to do the same.
Media contact: Katia Pellicciotta (she/her), YACVic Media & Communications Coordinator. 9267 3744 or KPellicciotta@YACVic.org.au.
About Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic)
Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading policy advocate for young people aged 12-25 and the youth sector in Victoria. Established in 1960, YACVic advocates for the rights of young people in Victoria to ensure they are active, visible and valued in their communities.
- Interim Inclusion Advisory Committee. (2023). 2023-2024: Report to the Australian Government. https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/sites/ministers.treasury.gov.au/files/2023-04/eiac-report.pdf
- Chalmers, J. Treasurer. (2023, April). Release of Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee report [Press release]. https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/release-economic-inclusion-advisory-committee-report#:~:text=The%20Economic%20Inclusion%20Advisory%20Committee,disadvantage%20and%20boost%20economic%20participation
- Australian Council of Social Service (2023, March). “It’s hell”: how inadequate income support is causing harm. https://www.acoss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ACOSS-cost-of-living-report2-March-2023_web_FINAL.pdf
- National Youth Commission Australia. (2021). The Youth Income Guarantee: A Fair and Accessible Income Support System for Young People. https://nycinquiry.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/The-Youth-Income-Guarantee-Full-Report-14222.pdf
- Homelessness Australia. (2023). Fact Sheet: Adequacy of Youth Allowance. https://homelessnessaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/HA-Youth-Allowance-Fact-Sheet.pdf