ACOSS urging Federal Government to increase Newstart

Newstart and Youth Allowance do not cover the cost of life essentials, the Australian Council of Social Service says. 

ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie launched a campaign called Raise the Rate urging the Federal Government to increase Newstart and related payments.

Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan, Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash, and Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said Australia’s welfare system would be “simpler and provide greater encouragement for people to move from welfare into work” with the passing of the Welfare Reform Bill through the Senate on March 26.

Mr Tehan, Ms Cash, and Mr Keenan said the reform would ensure the welfare system was “fair, sustainable, and continues to provide support to those most in need.”

Dr Goldie said Newstart had not increased “in real terms since 1994”.

“At just $278 per week, people trying to survive on Newstart while looking for work are having to make really tough choices between paying a bill and eating a meal,” Dr Goldie said.

“It’s time for the government to raise the rate and reduce poverty and inequality in Tasmania.”

The council visited Tasmania to meet with those living on low income support payments. It also met with charities, businesses, and the state government.

Northern Suburbs Neighbourhood House manager Denise Delphin said ACOSS started an important discussion.

ACOSS visited the centre to chat with those on Newstart or similar payments.

“They were pleased to be able to share their stories about Newstart and Centrelink,” Ms Delphin said.

“Changes need to be made to support our community.”