A better start for job seekers

The Australian Greens have introduced two Bills to Parliament to help jobseekers, young people, single parents and others struggling on Newstart Allowance by delivering the $50 per week increase that so many people in the community have been calling for.

What's wrong with Newstart?

Today, the single rate of Newstart is $248.50 a week - that's just 45% of the minimum wage and is more than $130 under the poverty line.

On average, recipients are forced to live on around than $17 a day after they've paid their rent. That's $17 a day for all other expenses, including utilities, transport, food, personal care and job-seeking; and doesn't leave scope to save for other major expenses such as car license and registration renewal, replacement white goods or a health crisis.

Subsisting on such a tiny income over an extended period of time dramatically shrinks your world and for many leads to a cycle of debt, stress and social isolation that gets harder and harder to break out of. This becomes more and more of a problem the longer you receive the payment, and more than 60% of the people who get onto Newstart are on it for more than 12 months, demonstrating the fact that the current system broken.

This is not enough to support people while they get a new start in life. It affects their ability to search for work, particularly if they face other barriers such as age, disability or education, as many long term recipients of Newstart do.

This is why the Greens are taking action. We're the only party to have presented costed policies to deliver the additional support that people need.

About our Bills

The Social Security Legislation Amendment (Caring for People on Newstart) Bill 2013 will:

  • Increase Newstart and Youth Allowance by $50 per week - ensuring a fairer social security for single people living on Newstart and Youth Allowance;
  • Improve indexation models that will help maintain the value of an increase into the future

The Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Caring for Single Parents) Bill 2013 will:

  • Provide a supplementary payment of $40 per week for single parents on Newstart with children under 16. 
  • Reform the income test for single parents on Newstart so their income test is the same as single parents receiving parenting payments;
  • Introduce an enforceable right to request flexible working arrangements for carers, including parents caring for children.

We believe that a socially just, democratic society is one that guarantees an adequate income safety net for all Australians and allows people to live with dignity even when facing some of the toughest times of their lives. The complacency of the old parties in leaving people to languish in poverty or trapping them in debt is unacceptable.

Rachel & Adam lived on Newstart

Both Rachel and Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt have taken the challenge of living on the equivalent of Newstart - $35 dollars per day- in order to highlight the challenges faced by people receiving Newstart Allowance.

Find out more about Adam's week, or read Rachel's blogs from the week and her wrap-up of the lessons learned.

More information

For access to the Senate Inquiry report, including the Australian Greens additional comments to the report, visit the Senate Committee website. You can also watch Rachel's speech to Parliament where she responds to the Inquriy.

Read our Newstart Initiative
Check out our Newstart Campaign Leaflet
Check out our Newstart Postcard - Anyone Can Find Themselves Out Of Work

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