Sector Unites in Call to Raise Newstart
25 March 2013 at 12:05 pm
The nation’s welfare sector has made a united call for a $50 increase in the single Newstart Allowance payment at the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) National Conference in Adelaide.
More than 400 participants of the conference passed a resolution calling on the Federal Parliament to urgently legislate for a $50 increase in the single rate of Newstart and other low paying allowances.
The resolution reads:
‘Participants of the 2013 ACOSS National Conference unanimously call on the federal parliament of Australia to urgently legislate for a $50 increase in the single rate of Newstart and other low paying allowances.
Allowance payments also need to be indexed to wages as opposed the CPI.
This must be included in this May Budget before the federal election if we are to prevent worsening levels of poverty in our country.
Already one in eight people are living in poverty in Australia, including one in six children.
This is an indictment on our nation and it’s in our national interest to take immediate steps to redress this.’
ACOSS Chief Executive Dr Cassandra Goldie told the conference that much needed increase is “urgent” and must be funded in this last Budget before the federal election if we are serious about dealing with the worsening level of poverty in our country.
Addressing delegates, Dr Goldie said that one in eight people are living in poverty in Australia, including one in six children.
“This is an indictment on our nation,” she said.
"People who are out of paid work and on the lowest payments are among those at highest risk. The Newstart payment continues to fall further behind pensions because it's indexed only to the Consumer Price Index instead of wages.
"In last week's indexation increases people on the Aged Pension received an $18 a week increase whereas people on Newstart only received a $2 a week increase. The single rate of Newstart remains $35 a day.
“In recent years we've seen changes to tighten eligibility for the Disability Support Pension force as many as 70,000 more people with disability onto the low Newstart payment. And recently more than 80,000 single parents and their children were dropped to the same payment and lose between $60-$100 a week.
“This get tough approach to the vulnerable members of our community has simply got to stop.”
The ACOSS National Conference is taking place over two days at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide. Speakers include Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Mark Butler, Senator Rachel Siewert, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, and the Shadow Minister for Housing, Families and Human Services, Kevin Andrews.
Follow the action on Twitter #ACOSS2013