Centrelink rule change welcome relief

Latrobe Valley welfare agencies have welcomed a change to Centrelink payment rules, which allows recipients to earn more through part-time work.

People receiving Newstart Allowance, Widow Allowance, Partner Allowance, Sickness Allowance or the Parenting Payment Partnered can now earn $100 per fortnight before their payment is affected.

They were previously limited to $62 a fortnight.

“If low income people can earn a little bit more to increase household income, then that’s a good thing,” Quantum Support Services acting chief executive Steve Koczwara said.

Anglicare Victoria regional director Jane Anderson said the change was a “step in the right direction”.

“We agree people need to be encouraged into the workforce to help their wellbeing and connection with the entire community,” Ms Anderson said.

“However, we still think there needs to be more support to assist people into the workforce and the Commonwealth benefits are still insufficient to meet daily living needs.

“We find because of financial stresses, people have to sacrifice things in their life other Australian don’t, such as health expenses, school books and holidays.”

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the changes would make it easier for customers to take up casual or part-time work as a stepping stone to more permanent employment.

“We need to be encouraging people to enter the workforce and develop the confidence and skills, which will help to give them economic independence and reduce the strain on the public purse,” Mr Chester said.

“These changes are another step towards helping all Australians achieve their full potential rather than relying solely on Centrelink benefits, wherever possible.”