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Anti-poverty week: Poverty rate of single parents and people on Newstart on the rise

The ACOSS and UNSW Poverty in Australian 2018 report has revealed that the poverty rate for people on Newstart has risen by 17% in the last 16 years saying that “we choose the level of poverty we are prepared to accept”.

“Despite being the second wealthiest country in the world, poverty rates have remained entrenched at a high level, with 3 million people living below the poverty line, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australians Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services said.

“I can’t see how anyone can look at these figures and at the report and not be disturbed.

“In 2006, the Howard Government started moving sole parents from the Parenting Payment to Newstart once their youngest child turned 8 and in 2013, 80,000 sole parents (who were grandfathered) were transferred by the Gillard Government to the lower Newstart Allowance. We now see that the poverty rate for sole parents has risen from 35% in 2013 to 59% in 2015, a stark increase.

“Successive Governments have targeted people on income support using them as a budget savings measure, rather than doing their job and making sure everyone has what they need to live a good life.

“We are signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals, the first target of which is to reduce poverty in all its forms yet we have no national target and the overriding social policy we have is targeting people on income support for savings while demonising those looking for work?

“Since 2012 ,the Liberal and Labor parties have received over $100 million from corporations, while 1 in 3 of the largest corporations pay no tax at all. But… we can’t raise Newstart?

“Increasing Newstart and Youth Allowance which have not had an increase in real terms since 1994 would significantly help people struggling to try to make ends meet, and is one of the measures we need to take to address poverty.

“The Greens have a bill before Parliament to raise Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 a week which will be debated this Thursday. When we see figures like these, I am at a loss as to why we won’t have multiparty support to pass this bill.”

Media Contact:

Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180

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