A new universal basic pay-check program in Australia is about to go live, and it’s raising some eyebrows among the country’s wealthiest people.
The Universal Basic Pay (UBP) program, launched on Tuesday by the government of Queensland, is designed to create a basic income to be paid to all Australians who earn under $180,000.
“The UBP is an investment in the future of Australia’s society,” said Labor’s deputy leader, Adam Bandt, in a statement.
The program has been designed to give an extra $1,000 a month to every Australian earning between $180k and $180.5m a year, as well as providing $1m for each additional $10,000 in annual income above that threshold.””
It is also an investment to build the skills of the workforce and to ensure Australia’s long-term prosperity.”
The program has been designed to give an extra $1,000 a month to every Australian earning between $180k and $180.5m a year, as well as providing $1m for each additional $10,000 in annual income above that threshold.
“This is the next step in the evolution of Australia and the world,” Bandt said.
“The UP is the most significant basic income scheme in history.”
The UPP was initially introduced in the early 2000s to boost economic growth in the mining and resource sectors, but its main focus has been on people on low incomes, such as the unemployed, or people who are in work for less than a year.
In Australia, the UPP is only available to low-income earners, and is intended to be used as a supplement to other forms of social welfare, such the WorkChoices scheme.
In a separate announcement on Wednesday, the Government said that the program would start in January, and that the money would be available to anyone earning $180-180k a year by 2020.
A spokesperson for the ABC, who spoke to the ABC about the program, said that it was “not the government’s intention” to create an income guarantee for everyone.
“The government does not intend to create basic income programs to give everyone a basic living wage, but it is our policy to ensure everyone has the ability to access a basic payment that will ensure they can support themselves,” the spokesperson said.
According to a 2015 study by the National Centre for Policy Analysis, only 6 per cent of Australians were on the minimum wage in 2015, with the median income around $18,000 per year.
The UMP program, which is set to take effect in January 2020, will allow for people to get paid up to $1.8 million per year for a maximum of seven years, with an annual income of up to about $18.5 million.
The ABC asked the Queensland government whether it planned to allow the UMP to become a full-fledged basic income.
“[The] government does recognise that basic income is a powerful social policy tool and that some of the most vulnerable people in Australia could benefit from it,” a spokesperson for Queensland’s Finance Minister, Steven Miles, told the ABC.
“However, this policy is not designed to provide everyone with a guaranteed income, rather, to provide an income that is appropriate to a range of Australians, based on their circumstances.”
The spokesperson said that Queensland was not yet considering extending the UBP program to the rest of Australia, as it was currently being developed.