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Turnbull Government and Labor must show political courage and commit to increasing Newstart: Greens

Research by the Salvation Army showing the average Newstart recipient has just $17 a day to live off after accommodation expenses should not be ignored by the Turnbull Government and Shorten’s Labor party, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“$17 a day after accommodation expenses is obscene. Members of our community are foregoing food and safety because the Government won’t exercise political courage to lift the appalling low payment. At the same time Government is pursuing tax cuts for the wealthy. 

“It is truly astonishing that Federal Government MPs keep insisting it is a transitional payment so it does not need to increase it. Do they really think struggling jobseekers will find work quicker because they are extra poor? Government MPs simply do not understand what people are going through and that poverty is a barrier to employment. 

“Government MPs should try living off the rate of Newstart for at least a week, let’s see if they are so confident about lecturing jobseekers on how the payment is sufficient once they have given it a crack.

“Bill Shorten’s Labor party needs to get off the fence and commit to increasing the payment if elected. We have a breadth of research and a range of economists and social service organisations saying it is far too low. We do not need another review to know that the payment is too low, it is well established. 

“I urge both the old parties to support my bill that would increase the rate of Newstart by $75 a week. It is well overdue and would help jobseekers find work whilst injecting money into the economy as job seekers use the additional support on goods and services”.

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