Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has called on Federal MPs who think they could live off the $40 a day Newstart rate to give it a go.
“I am glad there is a national discussion occurring about the woefully low payment that job seekers have to survive on whilst trying to find work. Julia Banks MP has claimed she could live off the payment rate of $40 a day, I urge her to put her money where her mouth is and give it a go for a week.
“Having personally attempted to live off the payment for a week some years ago, I can attest that it is near-impossible. When you factor in cost of accommodation, utility charges, transport, phone, unexpected costs such as car breakdowns there is little left for food. Food becomes a discretionary item and you can forget things like health insurance.
“For anybody to make a claim that $40 per day is enough to live on shows they have become detached from the hardships experienced out in the community.
“If MPs don’t want to give living on Newstart a go they should at least go and talk to people who are struggling on Newstart. They may also like to try finding affordable accommodation and experience our employment services. If they are going to dictate a payment rate they should at least try and understand what it is like to live on it.
“The fact is Newstart is too low, we don’t need more reviews to work that out, we need action. Newstart needs to be increased by $75/week”.