Speaking today in Perth, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Spokesperson for Families and Community Services said, "The Government is still obsessed with achieving a surplus on the backs of the most vulnerable Australians.
"At the end of Poverty Week, where we have seen some devastating new evidence from the community sector about the number of people going hungry, living in poverty and experiencing housing stress, the Minister has finally conceded that there is a genuine problem that needs to be addressed.
"But still, the conversation continues to reference the need to manage the economy and to balance 'tough' decisions.
"What I find tough is that the Government continues to deny the day-to-day reality of low income households.
"It's not merely difficult to survive on NewStart, it's impossible. The evidence shows that families are falling into significant debt, they experience rental stress or homelessness, and they are going hungry.
"The Government's references to its clearly inadequate supplements such as rent assistance is insulting. Those supplements are not keeping pace with the costs of private rentals, medications or public transport and do nothing to ease rising food costs.
"Last year's budget announcement of an additional $210 a year for a single person on Newstart showed how out of touch this Government is when it comes to poverty and financial insecurity.
"The Greens call on the Government to support our initiative and commit to at least a $50 a week increase to the single rate of Newstart, as a matter of urgency," concluded Senator Siewert.