More voices are needed to bring about increasing the Newstart Rate. Please consider some of the reasons and add your voice to the Australian Council of Social Service’s Call to the Government to raise Newstart.
Aligning Government policy with public concerns is one of the core aims of democratic governance and key to this is the Government listening with an open mind to what the concerns are.
For some time now, Welfare groups, including the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) have been calling upon the Government to re-evaluate the Newstart payment which has not increased in real terms in 24 years, despite rising national living standards. Economist Chris Richardson said the payment had failed to keep up with national living standards for more than a quarter of a century. The maximum payment for a single person is about $40 a day.
The call to raise the Newstart payment is also now supported by the Business Council of Australia and former PM John Howard.
The Consumers Heath Forum of Australia cites the Government publication, Australia’s Health 2018 analysis of the relationship between socio-economic status and health inequalities intheir call to “all sides of politics to act on the compelling evidence that people in poverty are much more likely to suffer poor health, higher risk of chronic disease and mental illness.”
Calls have been persistently made in Social Media under the hashtags, #RaiseTheRate #ShareThePie #MakeRentingFair and #ThingsIWishMyLandlordKnew.
ABC’s 7.30 Report this week featured a story of a job-seeker struggling to make ends meet.
How many more voices are needed to action the Newstart payment being re-viewed?
Increasing the Newstart payment will improve the lives of an estimated 3 million Australians living below the internationally accepted poverty line of whom 731,000 are children. 40% of those children are in single parent families (ACOSS 2016).
Not addressing this public policy will continue the hardships of those who do not have the capacity to improve their own situation. There are many long-term unemployed who are unable to find employment, despite trying. ACOSS states, “There is only 1 job available for every 8 people looking for paid work or more hours (ABS 2018). That is why 70% of people receiving Newstart have been unemployed for 12 months or more.”
The Guardian’s Katherine Murphy notes, “The poverty trap is obvious. The low rate of the allowance becomes a tangible factor in whether or not you can successfully find work. This has been the core of the business and economic case for boosting Newstart, articulated very clearly by a range of players in recent years…”
Clearly more voices are needed so that all sides of politics listen and review the concerns being raised about the Newstart payment.
ACOSS is currently running a campaign calling upon the Government to lift the single Newstart payment by $75 a week. There are many organisations and individuals who are supporting this call in the hope that our voices will be heard to redress this debilitating inequity impacting Australia’s most vulnerable.
To join ACOSS’s call to the Government to Raise the Newstart Rate, you can sign at ACOSS.