News National Jobless, sole parents hit hardest

Jobless, sole parents hit hardest

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People on benefits do the heaviest lifting as a result of the federal budget, a new study suggests.

Australian National University’s Peter Whiteford and Daniel Nethery looked at the impact on real disposable incomes in 2017 as a result of the Abbott government’s first budget.

“Our conclusion is that the budget proposals mean that the budget pain is not being evenly shared but will be heaviest for many working-age people at the lowest income levels,” the researchers said.

The study was conducted because the budget papers – for the first time in a decade – did not include a table of figures showing how different households benefit from policy changes.

Key budget measures included a $7 co-payment to see a doctor, the reintroduction of indexed tax rises on fuel, a levy on high-income earners and tightening of pension and welfare rules.

An unemployed 23-year-old loses $47 per week or 18 per cent of disposable income.

An unemployed lone parent with one eight-year-old child loses $54 per week or 12 per cent.

Lone parents earning about two-thirds of the average wage lose between 5.6 to seven per cent of their disposable income.

A single-income couple with two school-age children and average earnings loses $82 per week or six per cent of their disposable income.

High-income couples could together bring in up to $360,000 a year and not contribute an extra cent.

The study acknowledged Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s promise that abolishing the carbon tax would save an average household $550 a year through cheaper power prices.

But the authors concluded this saving would offset less than one-fifth of the losses of those who are unemployed or in low paid work.