$36 a day is not enough!

Lift paltry allowances and help people into paid work

ACOSS Resources

Newstart Resources

Factsheet: Newstart Allowance

Factsheet: Employment Participation

Opinion Pieces

Media Releases

Media Clips 

Research Papers

Letter to Federal MPs, February 3rd 2012

Could you live on $36 a day? That’s how much people unfortunate enough to find themselves out of work have to depend on – to put a roof over their heads, feed and clothe themselves, and get around as they try and find paid work – just $246 per week.

Join our Campaign to raise unemployment allowances such as Newstart and improve jobs assistance.  

ACOSS leads fight for increase to Newstart

ACOSS has spearheaded a long battle by Australia’s community welfare sector for an increase to below poverty line income support payments like Newstart and Youth Allowance that are driving people into worsening poverty.

Watch ABC 4 Corners program: ‘On the Brink’ by Geoff Thompson and Morag Ramsay,  Mon July 1, 2013

Prominent Australians back increase to Newstart in Budget

May 1, 2013 – More than forty prominent Australians and leading heads of charities, unions, and national community welfare organisations, have united to sign an Open Letter to the Federal Government, calling for an increase in income support allowance payments in the May Budget.

The Open Letter, organised by the Australian Council of Social Service, calls on the Australian Government to increase the single rate of Newstart and other allowances and index these payments to wages, to address growing poverty in Australia.

Read Full Statement.

ACOSS National Conference Newstart Resolution

March 26, 2013 – More than 400 participants of the 2013 ACOSS National Conference have today passed a resolution calling on the federal parliament of Australia 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 Launches Newstart Video at ACOSS Conference

March 26, 2013 – ACOSS launched this Newstart video during it’s national conference in Adelaide – share it with friends and your networks!

$35 a day is not enough: Geraldine and Tony’s Story

For a real new start, stop miring people in poverty

By Cassandra Goldie Published in the SMH on Saturday January 5, 2013

While many of us celebrate the festive season, spare a thought for the thousands of single-parent families who have been served a cruel blow at what is supposed to be a happy time of year.

The federal government’s decision to move all single parents off parenting payments when their youngest child turns eight has meant about 84,000 of Australia’s poorest families saw their benefits cut by as much as $110 a week from January 1. Read Opinion Article 

Senate report adds voice to calls for urgent increase in Newstart Allowance

November 29, 2012 – ACOSS said the report of the Senate inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart and other Allowances, released today, adds another voice to the chorus of calls for urgent action to increase these payments for single people.

Read full media release

Although the majority report did not recommend an increase in allowance payments it recognised that they are too low.

ACOSS is pleased that Labor members of the Senate Committee included separate recommendations supporting an increase in payments and changing indexation arrangements so that allowances do not continue to fall further behind pensions. The Australian Greens, who initiated this important Inquiry, made similar recommendations.

See Full Report

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committees tabled its report on November 29, 2012.

ACOSS will continue to lobby the Federal Government and all parliamentarians that an increase in allowance payments is long overdue!

All ACOSS Media Statements on this issue can be found here >>

If you have any questions or suggestions please contact fernando@acoss.org.au or call on 02 9310 620902 9310 6209

Sign the ACOSS statement below! 



United call for increase to income support Allowances and improved jobs assistance

Australia’s community sector is calling on the Federal Government to make improving the income and job prospects of people out of paid work a top priority for 2012.

There is a growing consensus in the wider community, ranging from business organisations, economists, the union movement, to the broad community and social services sector that the current rate of single Allowance payments is simply not enough for people to live on and is hindering their efforts to find paid work.

With no employment growth last year and the profile of people out of paid work becoming more disadvantaged (people with low skills, long periods out of paid work, disabilities, and of mature age) many will find it hard to secure a job without more help from employment services.

Australia will need to employ more of its unemployed workers as the population ages and labour shortages increase over the medium term, but we don’t do enough to prepare them for employment. Job Services Australia providers are typically funded to offer an interview every two months and just $500-$1000 worth of training or work experience for each person looking for paid work long term.

If labour shortages become more widespread in the next few years, Australia will have a unique opportunity to meet economic and social needs at the same time by dealing with the problem of entrenched unemployment.

The signatories urge the Government to increase Allowance payments for singles by $50 per week as recommended by the Henry Report and to strengthen its investment in employment services.  Far from being a disincentive to find work, increasing the level of allowance payments will help lift a great many out of poverty and put them in a better position to participate in paid work.

Currently more than 575,000 people are living on the Newstart Allowance which is as low as $35 a day for a single adult, and 60% have lived on this payment for over a year.  Altogether, over one million people rely on this and similar ‘Allowance’ payments.

By implementing the following measures, the Government will reduce the high social and fiscal costs of long-term unemployment and strengthen its employment participation agenda.

As a group, the signatories to this Statement call for:

  • Increase Allowance payments – Increase the single rate of allowance payments by $50 per week. These include Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Special Benefit, Austudy and ABSTUDY.
  • Improve employment services for long term unemployed people – The Job Services Australia system should be reformed to make it more responsive to the needs of individual job seekers and employers, including by increasing the resourcing of JSA providers. Providers should receive at least as much funding to provide work experience and training for long-term unemployed people as they do for people unemployed for shorter periods.
  • Expand wage subsidy schemes – Double the number of places in the new wage subsidy scheme for people out of paid work long term to 20,000 in the program’s second year, and introduce a scheme that fully subsidises up to 6 months of paid employment for the most deeply disadvantaged jobseekers (including through social enterprises).
  • Make VET work for jobseekers – Earmark a substantial number of training places under the new national VET scheme for jobseekers, together with new incentives and resources for training organisations to adapt training to the needs of jobseekers and work more closely with employment services.
  • Lock in supports for jobseekers in deeply disadvantaged areas – In areas of high and entrenched levels of unemployment, the Government should negotiate with States and Territories to supplement funding for employment, health, housing and community services to encourage them to work together to build pathways to employment for those with multiple social disadvantages.


The more names we can add to this statement the more powerful it will be when we present it to our Federal Parliamentarians in the coming weeks. Please encourage your organisation to add their name to the statement. If you are a member of an organisation that has already signed, please show your individual support by encouraging friends and others to take action on this important issue by adding their names as well.

Sign on as either an Organisation or an Individual.

We will only add full names to the list. Your email and postcode will not be published on this page.

Only The Organisation’s name will be published, the other information is used by ACOSS to verify that the registration is properly authorised.


Sharing this statement and encouraging your friends and family to sign makes a big impact in this campaign. The more we can grow the list of signatories, the more powerful our message becomes. Please email, tweet and like (or whatever you do) this page, you can also use the buttons bellow.

See what others are saying at #ImNoBludger


  • Australian Council of Social Service
  • ACT Council of Social Service
  • Aged, Disability and Carer Advocacy Service
  • AIDS Council of SA
  • Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA)
  • Anex (Association for Prevention and Harm Reduction Programs Australia)
  • Anglicare Australia
  • Anglicare Sydney
  • Anglicare WA
  • Australian Association of Social Workers TAS Branch
  • Australian Association of Social Workers WA Branch
  • Australian Council of Trade Unions
  • Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations
  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Australian Health Care Reform Alliance
  • Australian Nursing Federation
  • Australian Services Union
  • Australian Youth Affairs Coalition
  • Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation
  • Baptist Care SA
  • Berry Street
  • Byron Community Centre
  • Cancer Council NSW
  • Care Financial Counselling and the Consumer Law Centre of the ACT
  • Carers Australia
  • Carers Victoria
  • CareWorks SA&NT
  • Cassia Community Centre
  • Catholic Social Services Australia
  • Central Qld Indigenous Development
  • CentrelinkNews
  • Children by Choice
  • Churches of Christ CareWorks
  • Citizens Advice Bureau ACT
  • Community Housing Federation of Australia
  • Community Information and Support Information Victoria
  • Consumer Credit Legal Centre (NSW) Inc.
  • COTA Australia
  • Council of Australian Humanist Societies Inc.
  • Council of Single Mothers and their Children (Vic)
  • Council of Social Service of NSW
  • Disability Employment Australia
  • Doctors Reform Society
  • DOME Association Inc
  • Eastern Community Legal Centre
  • Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education
  • ER Victoria
  • Ethnic Child Care Family and Community Services Cooperative
  • Family & Relationship Services Australia
  • Family Planning NSW
  • Financial and Consumer Rights Council
  • Financial Counselling Australia
  • Good Shepherd Youth & Family Service
  • Gosnells Community Legal Centre Inc.
  • Granville Multicultural Community Centre Inc
  • HACjobs
  • Hanover Welfare Services
  • Healthy KIds Association
  • Heta Incorporated
  • HomeGround Services
  • Homelessness Australia
  • Homelessness NSW Inc
  • HopeStreet
  • Human Rights Law Centre
  • Illawarra Forum Inc
  • Illawarra Legal Centre
  • Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network Ltd
  • Inner Sydney Regional Council
  • Jennine Blundell Consulting
  • Jobs Australia Ltd
  • Justice and International Mission Unit, Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
  • Justice for Children Australia
  • Latitude: Directions for Young People
  • Liverpool Youth Accommodation
  • Living Learning Pakenham
  • Mental Health Association NSW
  • Mercy Foundation
  • Mountains Community Resource Network
  • National Association of Community Legal Centres Inc
  • National Employment Services Association
  • National Tertiary Education Union
  • Network SA
  • North West Homelessness Network
  • Northern Suburbs Housing Co-operative
  • Northern Territory Council of Social Service
  • NSW Association for Youth Health
  • Penrith Women’s Health Centre
  • People with Disability Australia
  • Public Health Association of Australia
  • Queensland Council of Social Service
  • Redfern Legal Centre
  • Richmond Community Services Inc
  • Ruah Community Services
  • Sacred Heart Mission
  • SANE Australia
  • SecondBite
  • Sector Connect
  • Settlement Services International
  • Shelter S.A.
  • ShelterNSW
  • Single Mum Australia
  • Sisters Inside
  • Sisters St Joseph
  • South Australian Council of Social Service
  • Springwood neighbourhood Centre cooperative Ltd
  • St Luke’s Anglicare
  • St Marys Area Community Development Project Inc.
  • St Vincent de Paul Society National Council
  • Sydney University SRC
  • Tasmanian Council of Social Service
  • Tasmanian Pensioners Union-Devonport
  • Tenants Union of Victoria
  • Tenants’ Union of NSW
  • The Benevolent Society
  • The International Human Rights Commission
  • The Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW
  • The National Welfare Rights Network
  • The Salvation Army – Australia
  • The Smith Family
  • Townsville Community Legal Service Inc
  • Travellers Aid Australia
  • UnitingCare Australia
  • UnitingCare Ballarat
  • UnitingCare Tasmania
  • UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania
  • UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide Inc
  • UnitingCare Wesley Country SA
  • Universal Rights Network
  • Upper Murray Family Care
  • Victorian Council of Social Service
  • Welfare Rights and Legal Centre
  • Welfare Rights Centre Inc. Queensland
  • Welfare Rights Centre, Sydney
  • Western Austrlalian Council of Social Services
  • Western Sydney Community Forum
  • Women’s Activities and Self Help House Inc
  • Women’s Health NSW
  • Women’s Legal Services NSW
  • Working Women’s Centre SA Inc
  • YHES House
  • Youth Affairs Network of Queensland
  • Youth Projects
  • YWCA Australia
  • YWCA of Canberra

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