Like all state governments, the South Australian state government provides concessions for people living on very low incomes and struggling with affordability of essential services. Those who are eligible receive a discount, subsidy, rebate, or exemption from fees or goods or services to assist people to get where they need to go, meet their basic needs, and live healthier lives. However, the concessions system retains the markers of its piecemeal development over time and there is a patchwork of different payments with varying eligibility criteria.

This review of the concessions system in South Australia highlights how the complex patchwork created poverty premiums and barriers to accessing concessions support.

In this report, the authors make three recommendations to address the systemic flaws in concessions:

  1. A broad review of the concession system as a whole to ensure consistency, proper targeting and ease of access across the system;
  2. Extension of all concessions available to age pension recipients to other Centrelink recipients receiving lower payment
  3. Introduction for all concessions of an additional low-income eligibility criteria which is not based on receipt of Centrelink benefits in order to support those living in waged poverty or otherwise outside the Centrelink system.

Alongside these systemic initiatives, SACOSS is recommending a number of smaller changes to specific concessions to remove poverty premiums and barriers to access.

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