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Labor still hedging their bets on raising Newstart and addressing poverty

Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale today said Labor was clearly feeling the heat on Newstart, with an internal document showing cracks starting to appear in their continued refusal to back any raise to the payment.

“It’s good that Labor is finally waking up to the reality that $278 a week is simply not enough to live on, but again, they’re not making any promises to fix it,” Dr Di Natale said.

“They could commit right now to a new Labor government lifting Newstart by at least $75 a week. That’s the absolute minimum required to bring 640,000 people above the poverty line.

“Sadly they’re still hedging their bets, preferring to delay any promises until they’ve had another talkfest at the end of the year."

Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said:

“It’s not a question of how we pay for it – how can we not pay for it? How can we leave people living in poverty?," Sen Siewert said.

“We can fully fund this raise simply by stopping Australia’s richest people from rorting on their tax bill. By restricting tax deductions for just 45,000 people, we can ensure 838,000 people on income support can better make ends meet.

“With business groups, the social service sector and even John Howard in agreement, it’s disappointing that Labor are still refusing to get on board with a modest increase to a payment that hasn’t risen since 1994.

“It’s an easy choice to make – and the Greens will always back people on Newstart over the super wealthy.”

The Greens currently have a bill before Parliament to increase Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 a week.


Media Contacts:

Di Natale - Will Kelly; 0427 819 461
Siewert - Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie; 0418 401 180

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