In December 2022, the Treasurer, Dr Jim Chalmers, and the Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, established an interim Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee (the Committee).

The Committee provides non-binding advice on boosting economic inclusion and tackling disadvantage, including policy settings, systems and structures, and the adequacy, effectiveness and sustainability of income support payments. Its advice is to be delivered ahead of every Federal Budget.

The Committee is comprised of social security and economics experts and leaders from the community sector, advocacy organisations, unions, business, and philanthropy.

The Committee has been guided by its Terms of Reference to deliver priority recommendations on five themes for the 2023-24 Budget. These seek to:

  1. Improve the adequacy of income support and rent assistance;
  2. Support more Australians to participate in the economy through commitment to a broader full employment objective;
  3. Address disadvantage in the places it is concentrated;
  4. Remove barriers to economic inclusion for families with children; and
  5. Propose legislated measures on economic inclusion and poverty reduction.

The Committee considered a range of topics to finalise this initial advice. Given the short timeframe, the Committee decided to concentrate on the needs of the largest number of Australians experiencing poverty and disadvantage today, namely people on Jobseeker, Youth Allowance and related working age payments. The Committee is grateful to people who participated in workshops on what it is like to live on income support, who greatly helped to guide its advice.

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