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Greens take Newstart debate to Tweed Heads

Senator Rachel Siewert has joined local Tweed Heads residents in NSW to discuss the Australian Greens plan to boost Newstart and help single parents.

"There's a lot of important public discussion taking place at the moment about payments such as Newstart and the challenges being faced by single parents in the wake of January's cuts. Unlike the old parties, the Greens are encouraging this debate," Senator Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on families and community services said today.

"I've been speaking to people around Australia about helping single parents and fixing Newstart for many, many years. It is disappointing that despite the significant body of evidence, the old parties remain unwilling to help those who are doing it tough.

"It is important that we, as a community, speak about the effect that living on a payment like Newstart has on job seekers and single parents and that is why I am pleased to be holding these forums and to have the opportunity to speak to people directly about the problems and explain the Greens' fully costed solutions.

"In Tweed Heads yesterday I heard of the high level of poverty and homelessness in the region, the high cost of housing and the extremely long waiting time for supported housing. People struggling on income support can't afford the high rents and end up homeless, in expensive caravan parks or couch surfing.

"The Greens have announced a plan to deliver a $50 per week increase to the base rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance, along with an additional supplement payment of $40 per week for single parents on Newstart.

"We've listened to job seekers, single parents and community organisations who have been talking about the problems with Newstart for years and years, but the older parties have only ignored the problems or made them worse by cutting payments, just as Labor did with the cuts in January.

"Reports from the community sector are consistently showing unmet need for support services, an unavailability of affordable housing and parents who are skipping meals so they can feed their kids.

"It is not fair that this is happening in Australia at a time when the older parties are allowing big miners to get away with not paying their fair share for mining our natural resources," Senator Siewert concluded.


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