Income support to get through tough times and real help to find a job
Raising the rate will get Newstart and Youth Allowance working.
Australia’s income support system should help people to get through tough times and provide support to find suitable employment. The income support payment for people looking for employment, Newstart, should be enough to cover the basics so that people can focus on getting a job, rather than dealing with financial crisis.
Similarly, the payment for young people looking for work, studying or both, Youth Allowance, needs to be enough for young people to study and find employment without worrying about where their next meal will come from or how they will pay for rent.
Nearly one million Australians receive income support through Newstart or Youth Allowance. They include young people making the transition from study to employment, single parents of school-age children and older Australians struggling to find a job while they confront technological change.
Currently, our income support system is not working because the rates of Newstart and Youth Allowance have not been increased in real terms for 25 years, while the cost of living, especially housing, has risen dramatically. $40 a day, the equivalent of less than $15,000 a year, is not enough to survive on while working to get into employment.
For Newstart to work, the rate needs to be enough to cover the basics so people can successfully look for paid work, without having to juggle debts and lose sleep worrying about how to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head.
Raising the rate will get Newstart and Youth Allowance working. It will deliver the support people need to get through tough times and into suitable employment. If people don’t have enough to cover the basics, Newstart won’t work because people will be dealing with financial stress rather than working to build a future. Raising the rate by about $10 per day will strengthen the income support system by easing financial stress so people looking for employment have best chance to get into the workforce.
Our income support system needs to recognise that the cost of living is higher for people living with disability and people with children. Currently, our income support system is not working because people with disability and single parents are receiving the low Newstart payment or other payments that don’t cover their basic costs of living. A good government would make sure people who are struggling financially while they care for children or others, suffer an illness, look for paid work or study, have enough to cover the basics and live with dignity.