The Australian Greens say the increasing cost of living in WA highlights yet again the need to provide better assistance to vulnerable people receiving income support payments such as Newstart Allowance.
“The release of the WACOSS Cost of Living Report today comes at the end of a week in which the Government and Coalition united to move up to 140,000 single parents on to Newstart Allowance, effectively cutting their income support,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Families and Community Services said today.
“Single parents and unemployed people are among the most vulnerable to severe financial hardship and poverty.
“As living costs in WA continue to increase, the cuts to parenting payments will put even more financial pressure on single parent families.
“WACOSS have found that as a result of financial stress, people are doing without the essentials on a daily basis. Going without things like proper food and health care can have serious long term consequences, and in turn, makes it harder to find secure work.
“Affordable housing also remains a serious problem. The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia recently found that rents for small accommodation – units and apartments – increased by $20 per week between May and August. This is often the type of accommodation relied on by low income earners and those on income support.
“WACOSS has described many low income families as being one step away from a crisis - something that became very clear to me during my Newstart week. Living on $17 per day after rent, it was incredibly hard to set aside any money for things like emergency car repairs, medical expenses or even a replacement pair of glasses.
“The Greens policy to increase Newstart by $50 per week is an important step in reducing the incidence of poverty in our community, by providing people with the support they need to care for their families and engage with the workforce.