The Federal Government will reignite a debate over stalled savings measures today by re-introducing plans to cut a carbon tax compensation payment for new welfare recipients.
- Christian Porter says the taxpayer will be saved $933m by closing the compensation payment
- The Government is trying to pressure Labor to support the savings measure
- Parliament has already voted to remove the energy supplement for new recipients of family tax benefits
The measure is one of several welfare cuts previously rejected by Parliament.
The Government abandoned $13 billion of similar savings in the federal budget, but Social Services Minister Christian Porter said it would persist with phasing out the energy supplement
“That compensation payment was meant to be compensation for the carbon tax, of course the carbon tax was only law for a very short period of time, some very long time ago,” Mr Porter said.
“We think it’s a reasonable measure, it saves the taxpayer $933 million by closing a compensation payment, only to new entrants to the system.”
He emphasised that only future recipients of income support payments like Newstart and the Disability Support Pension would be affected.
“Not a single person who is presently receiving any form of welfare benefit loses a cent, this is about new entrants to the system,” he said.
The Government is trying to pressure Labor to support the savings measure by pointing out that it counted the savings in its costings at last year’s federal election.
“If they don’t support this legislation they, in effect, have a $933 million black hole in their costings, so we’re not expecting they would do that, surely,” Mr Porter said.
But at the election Labor said it would reserve judgment about the energy supplement, and in September it announced that it would formally oppose the measure.
It nominated support for some alternative savings measures, which passed the Senate in September.
The parliament has already voted to remove the energy supplement for new recipients of family tax benefits and Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards.
National body to improve safety of disabled people in care
Mr Porter will also introduce a bill today to set up a new national body to improve the safety of disabled people in care.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme’s Quality and Safeguards Commission will begin work next year.
Labor and the Greens say the new body does not replace the need for a Royal Commission into the abuse of disabled people, but Mr Porter disagrees.
“The body has very strong powers, it can investigate complaints and make decisions to deregister individuals, to apply civil penalties, it represents the absolute best practice,” he said.
“I can not envisage a set of circumstances where this legislation would not pass,” Mr Porter said.