Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed reaffirmed calls by KPMG for a significant increase to Newstart of $50 a week in its report Reform Agenda for Australia, released today.
“The Australian Greens have been campaigning for a long time to increase Newstart, woefully low income support payments mean people are living in poverty and this is another barrier to gaining employment.
“Stakeholders, the Greens and major tax firm KPMG have pointed to evidence that increasing the payment will help pull people out of poverty, will better support people as they search for a job, and will boost the economy.
"Over the years the payment has fallen even further behind an acceptable amount. This alone should send a signal that the payment is well overdue for an increase.
“Just last week we heard that oil and gas companies may be incorrectly claiming up to $5 billion in tax deductions. Imagine if some of that money went to our most vulnerable who would inject it straight back into the local community to pay for essential goods and services.
“It is time the Federal Government stopped putting this increase in the too hard basket, it's time they stopped trying to justify why an increase isn't needed and it’s time to help Australians who are living below the poverty line.”