Government’s supplement allowance ‘pulled from a hat’

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Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today that the Government can’t explain how it came up with the figures for a $210 supplementary allowance payment announced in Tuesday’s budget.

“I suspect that this figure was pulled out of a hat,” Senator Siewert said.
 
“In Question Time I repeatedly asked Finance Minister Penny Wong to explain the factors that led to the Government arriving at a supplementary payment of $210 and what evidence existed to suggest Newstart was enough to support someone in day to day life.

“The Minister couldn’t answer the question. Unfortunately the Government seems unwilling to discuss the issue beyond stating that an increase to Newstart isn’t on their agenda.

“Minister Wong was happy to reiterate the Government’s commitment to encouraging participation and bringing more people into the workforce, but couldn’t explain how they expect Newstart to deliver this.

“The large number of people remaining on Newstart for more than 12 months shows that current measures to increase participation aren’t working and that smarter investment is needed.

“It isn’t clear how the Government expects a $210 per year supplement to help people into work when they’re living in poverty,” Senator Siewert concluded.