BASS MP Ross Hart says people on NewStart need further financial relief as soon as possible, but believes waiting up to 18 months after the election for the payment to be reviewed was the most “responsible” decision.
Mr Hart described the payment as “shamefully low”, but Labor has decided to hold a review within 18 months if it wins government, rather than immediately raise the payment.
Labor’s left faction aimed to bring a motion arguing for an increase, which instead resulted in a commitment to hold a review.
Mr Hart, a member of Labor’s left, said it was important not to lock the party into a fixed commitment to raise NewStart by a predetermined amount, should advice change post-election.
“It would be irresponsible to make announcements from Opposition that we would raise NewStart by a certain amount,” he said.
“We can hold a proper inquiry in government into the shamefully low rates of NewStart that looks into all of the factors facing unemployed people, including housing issues.
“I receive regular contact from constituents including a working single mum who, when she received two days of relief teaching work, immediately had the rent for public housing raised to the market rate.
“There are a lot of examples of how people lose money when they get extra payments.
“We want a system that has integrity.”
Labor’s left also failed to have the party adopt a policy of independently reviewing asylum seeker cases which were rejected under the Coalition’s fast-track system.
Mr Hart said Labor would work to bring to Australia remaining people in offshore detention on Nauru and Manus Island.
“In the long term, all will be resettled,” he said.
The Tasmanian Government raised concerns about a Labor commitment to creating a new Commonwealth Environment Agency, describing it as “more green tape for Tasmanian businesses”.
Resources Minister Sarah Courtney said the endorsement by the Wilderness Society “is not going to be good news for jobs in forestry, mining, aquaculture, or eco-tourism”.
“Tony Burke, together with the Wilderness Society and the Giddings Labor-Green Government, were the key instigators of the job-destroying forest lock-ups, which saw two-thirds of jobs in the industry in Tasmania lost,” she said.