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It’s time to increase Newstart and Youth Allowance

The Australian Greens have today introduced legislation to increase the woefully low Newstart and Youth Allowance payments by $75 a week.

"Newstart and Youth Allowance payments have not increased since 1994, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“For over two decades, Liberal and Labor governments have simply refused to increase these vital income support payments.

“They have let us down by giving massive tax handouts to their wealthy mates and letting them get away with not paying their fair share of tax instead of investing in the public and social services we all need.

“That’s why, while big corporate profits are soaring, and one in three of the largest corporations pay no tax, we’ve been left with rising economic inequality, poverty and cuts to health, education, income support and social services.

“We need to urgently address income inequality. At just $38 a day, people looking for work, disabled people, students, older Australians and single parents are extremely stressed trying to survive on the Newstart and Youth Allowance payments that deny them a dignified life. 

“In a wealthy country like Australia, no one should be left behind like this.

“A wide breadth of economists, service deliverers, local councils, the community, the business sector, the UN and even John Howard are calling for an increase to Newstart so that those of us who are looking for work can keep a roof over our head.

“I look forward to the major parties getting behind the Bill so that our Parliament can start to address growing economic inequality and create an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few.”

You can find Senator Siewert’s second reading speech and the Bill here.

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