Anti-Poverty Week launches in Launceston

Community service agencies across Tasmania are using Anti-Poverty Week to highlight the dire circumstances faced by people who are living below the poverty line. 

Uniting Care Tasmania chief executive and Anti-Poverty Week co-chair Lindy O’Neil said people living on Newstart are attempting to live on $7.60 a day, or $53.20 per week, after paying rent and living expensive. 

“How do you find money to buy a new shirt for a job interview or afford to fill the car up so you can go to several job interviews,” she said. 

Under-employed Tasmanians are also at high risk of living in situational poverty. 

“It is very, very easy for people living in situational poverty to sink into generational poverty,” Ms O’Neil said.

 A recent study by respected business service firm KPMG called on the government to raise the Newstart allowance by $50, bringing it to $300 per week. 

“KPMG’s Solving the structural Deficit report in April, 2016, stated that the low level of Newstart actually forms an employment barrier,” Ms O’Neil said.

“Unemployed people must become work-ready, therefore income support needs to be sufficient to allow someone to actively seek employment.”

Changing educational outcomes and creating jobs are fundamental to transitioning Tasmanians out of poverty. 

“We have too many people coming out of the end of the educational years and they are still illiterate and innumerate,” Ms O’Neil. 

Anti-Poverty Week is a national initiative which runs until October 22.