The Australian Greens have announced plans to move for a Senate inquiry into the adequacy of the income support system.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson for Family and Community Services says part of the terms of reference would include a focus on jobseekers, and the adequacy of the Newstart Allowance and other social security payments.
“There have been widespread calls from community groups, business leaders and economists for the rate of Newstart and other allowances to be increased by $50 per week, in recognition that our income support system needs renewal,” Senator Siewert said today.
“It was made clear to me during my recent week on Newstart that the current system makes it very hard to overcome barriers to employment and I think it is important that a Senate Inquiry now looks into this issue.
“An inquiry can help also establish whether the system is easy for people to understand and access and whether it facilitates or impedes transitions from unemployment or training to employment.
"Social security is a major part of our national expenditure and we need to make sure that it is delivering – by supporting those who cannot work and by helping those who can into secure jobs.
"At the moment, the statistics show us that people are being let down by the system and in many cases are being forced into poverty and debt, the unprecedented growth of insecure work in Australia makes this worse.
“I am hopeful that the Government and Coalition alike will recognise the need to investigate this issue.
"This Inquiry would be able to examine the ways in which improving our social security system can better build the capacity of our workforce and reduced long term unemployment," Senator Siewert concluded.
Senator Siewert will move a motion during the week starting 18 June 2012 to refer this matter to the Senate Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for inquiry.
For more information, please visit our Newstart Campaign website.