The Turnbull Government and the Labor party have together voted down a Senate motion calling for an increase of the single rate of Newstart and other allowances by $75 a week.
“The rate of the crucial income support payment Newstart is so abysmally low that those trying to find work are living below the poverty line”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“The payment has stagnated due to a lack of political will, with successive Governments being unwilling to help jobseekers meet the basic costs of living; preferring a punitive approach to demonise those who can’t find work.
“It’s disappointing that both major parties are refusing to budge in this space when people are clearly living below the poverty line.
“The fact is people don’t want to be on Newstart. People seeking work deserve to be supported adequately, and living below the poverty line is a barrier to work. Those seeking work should be able to afford the essentials, the current payment of $38 a day doesn’t cover that.
“The Government and the Labor party need to find the political will and exercise some compassion and common sense. It is well evidenced that the payment is too low and that needs to change”.
That the Senate –
(a) notes the Budget Priorities Statement 2018-19 of the Australian Council of Social Service launched this week in Canberra;
(b) recognises that research from 2017 shows that single rates of unemployment payments are completely inadequate to cover basic living costs; and
(c) acknowledges that our social safety net currently fails to protect those seeking work from falling into poverty;
(d) notes that the Australian Council of Social Service calls for an increase of $75 a week to allowance payments for single people from 1 January 2019;
(e) urges the Federal Government to increase the single rate of Newstart and related allowances by $75 a week.