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Trends in the single rate of Newstart Allowance (now JobSeeker), pensions and wages

Income inequalityInequalityTrends

This contrasts changes in the maximum weekly rates of Newstart Allowance and Pensions for single adults with changes in full time wages (both median and average measures) between 1993 and 2019.

The ‘real’ value of pensions rose from $283 per week to $437, an increase of 56%, while Newstart rose from $250 to $270 (largely due to ‘compensation’ for the GST, and the energy supplement compensating for higher energy prices), an increase of just 8%. The main reasons for this disparity were that, unlike pensions, Newstart Allowance is only indexed to consumer prices and not wage movements (and was not increased in ‘real terms’ since 1994), and that Allowance recipients missed out on the $32pw increase in the pension rate in 2009.

Over this period the gap between the two payments increased from $33 to $171 per week.

The graph also shows that the minimum wage has progressively fallen behind both median (middle) and average fulltime wages.

You can find out more about the changes in income support payments on our Causes and Solutions page.

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