The Australian Greens have welcomed changes to the deeming rates for part pensioners but condemn the Government for failing to address the appalling low rates of Newstart at the same time.
“Those living on Newstart are doing it very tough. While the Greens agree that deeming rates need reform, the Government also has responsibility for those on Newstart and needs to show them compassion as well”, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services said today.
“The Government should also commit to an urgent, minimum $75 a week increase to Newstart payments.
“Newstart hasn’t been raised in over 25 years. The current rate is so low that people are unable to afford basic living costs such as housing, food, bills and healthcare.
Senator Siewert has also commented on the discretionary powers of the Minister to make these decisions.
“There is currently no independent assessment of the adequacy of income support payments. This means the Government can choose to help part pensioners today, while continuing to condemn people on Newstart to live in poverty indefinitely.
“This system is not fair and it has to change. It’s time for politics to be taken out of our income support system.
“The Greens have been calling for an independent process for setting pensions and allowances for years and will be referring this issue to a Senate inquiry when the Senate resumes."
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180