Sector calls for immediate $75 increase to Newstart

Cassandra Goldie (ACOSS)

The Australian Council of Social Service has called for Labor to back an immediate increase to Newstart, rejecting the need for a review. Source: The Australian.

ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie said the payment — which is as low as $277 a week for a single person — should be increased by at least $75 a week.

“We urge the next government to immediately increase Newstart and related allowances by a minimum of $75 a week to help people get through tough times and into suitable employment,” she said.

“We don’t need a review to know that Newstart is not working. The evidence is in and there’s widespread support for an increase, including from leading economists, business groups and unions.

“The cost of delivering this urgent relief to people who are the poorest in the country is less than a third of the Coalition’s tax cuts for people on higher incomes.”

Dr Goldie said the real rate of Newstart had not increased in 25 years.

On Monday, Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said a future Shorten government would look to increase the welfare payment only after an extensive review. Labor has not included an increase to the Newstart payment in its pre-election costings.

“I couldn’t live on $39 a day. I accept that it is really difficult. And the reason we’re doing a review of Newstart is because we understand that people are not just living in poverty, but it’s preventing them getting out of poverty by getting a job,” Ms Plibersek told ABC’s Q&A program.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said Labor was going to the election with “unfunded promises for Newstart”.

“By saying they have a review, everybody’s expectation of a review is that Newstart will go up. Yet, on Friday of last week, the shadow treasurer and shadow finance minister for the Labor Party were out there being all very bold about the size of the alleged surpluses they say that the Labor Party will deliver,” Senator Birmingham said.


Newstart hike of $75 ‘a top priority’ (The Australian

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