The Australian Greens say MPs in both houses of Parliament have failed to make a stand in support of vulnerable Australians living on low rates of income support, such as Newstart.
Senator Rachel Siewert and Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt, MP for Melbourne today both moved motions in Parliament calling for a commitment from the Government to increase the rate of Newstart Allowance by $50 per week.
"Newstart is fundamentally inadequate for supporting people - be they looking for work or raising kids.
"Today, we've seen reports from the ABS that the cost of living has increased 2% for unemployed people and pensioners. This result is being talked about in positive terms but the reality is that even this so-called "low" increase is almost four times higher than the most recent indexation of Newstart, which was a paltry $1.45 per week.
"The flawed method of indexing Newstart and other allowance payments means they are falling further and further behind the cost of living, the minimum wage and other forms of income support like the age pension.
"Changes in living costs can vary greatly, and people on low incomes are especially vulnerable to this. When I re-priced my selection of groceries from my week on Newstart in April the cost had increased from $52.99 to $60.37 - this is a price difference of $7.38 a week compared to the recent increase in Newstart of $1.45 a week.
"This is another indication we need to be doing something about Newstart and the indexation of the payment so that people do not fall further behind and are not driven into entrenched poverty.
"This ongoing disparity means that those living on Newstart - which from January 1 next year will begin to progressively include 150,000 more single parents - face increasing risks of being driven into entrenched poverty," said Senator Siewert.
Greens Deputy Leader, Adam Bandt MP said the lack of commitment from the Labor and Tony Abbott flew in the face of the calls from the business sector, economists and the welfare sector about the need to increase Newstart by $50 per week.
"Labor's surplus straitjacket is built on the back of cuts to single parents and keeping people on unemployment benefits in poverty," Mr Bandt said.
"Labor backbenchers who have expressed concern about Newstart had an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is but instead voted with Tony Abbott."