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More support for Australians on income support.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator Amanda Vanstone Minister for Family & Community Services Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women 27.03 27 March 2003 More Support for Australians on Income Support Australians on income support will benefit from the changes passed in Parliament today. The package will include new incentives for people to take on casual work and special assistance for vulnerable jobseekers. The Australians Working Together Legislation is part of this Government’s commitment reform the welfare system. We are determined to improve Australia's social support system for working age people by moving to an active welfare system that brings out the best in people. The following measures will commence on 20 September 2003: • Working Credit - to encourage people on income support to take up employment by allowing them to keep more of their income support when they work. • Language, Literacy and Numeracy Supplement - a payment of $20.80 a fortnight, paid to eligible people who undertake approved language, literacy and numeracy training to cover the extra costs associated with training. • Close access to Mature Age Allowance (MAA) and Partner Allowance (PA) - most people who would previously have claimed MAA or PA will be able to get Newstart which is paid at the same rate but gives better access to payments and services to help them engage with the community and the workforce. • More flexible participation requirements for mature age (50+) Newstart Allowees - this includes a wider range of activities for this age group to meet the Newstart activity test. • New requirements for Parenting Payment customers - parents with a youngest child aged 13 or more will work with a Centrelink Personal Adviser to develop a Participation Agreement. An extra 400 Personal Advisers will also begin work in Centrelink offices around the country in September 2003. They will assist mature aged and Parenting Payment customers to meet their new requirements. The AWT package will make a real difference by providing Australians with improved personalised assessment and services, more opportunities for training and work experience, better incentives, and reasonable requirements for people to find work, increase their earnings or contribute to their communities. For more information see the What’s New link on the Department of Family and Community Services web site Minister’s media contact: Damon Hunt 0419 691 944