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Distractions won't halt the push to boost Newstart

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 10 Sep 2012

The Australian Greens say the Government should be ‘ashamed’ of its attempt to downplay the financial challenges being faced by unemployed Australians.

In its submission to the ongoing inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart Allowance, the Government has not made like-to-like comparisons, failing to include the family payments made to working families when demonstrating how the current rates of Newstart compare with the minimum wage.

“The government are trying to paint the picture that people on Newstart don’t need a payment increase, which is simply not true,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Families and Community Services said in Canberra this morning.

“The figures submitted to the Senate Inquiry ignore the fact that a person on the minimum wage with children is also entitled to a similar level of family assistance payments which supplements their income.

“This is an attempt to further the antiquated notion that Newstart must be kept low as an incentive to work.

“This is not the case, as the vast majority of submissions and hearings before the current Newstart Inquiry clearly highlight.

“We have heard clear and consistent reports that Newstart is too low and that living $130 per week below the poverty line makes it increasingly harder to find work, especially for people already facing barriers to employment.

“This argument also ignores the fact many people on Newstart don’t have children. For example, one in three people on Newstart are aged over 45 and may not be receiving family payments at all.

“People in this age bracket are increasingly facing issues like age discrimination in the job market – and that is something that the current system isn’t addressing  adequately,” Senator Siewert concluded.

 

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