ACOSS calls on Government to act on Newstart following Labor’s formal support and Nationals majority agreement

23 July 2019

Following Labor’s announcement today that it formally endorses an increase to Newstart and reports that the majority of Nationals MPs agree on the need for an increase, the Australian Council of Social Service is reiterating its call for the Government to reconsider its position.
ACOSS Acting CEO Jacqueline Phillips said:
“While we welcome the Opposition firming up its support for an increase to Newstart and the growing support within the Coalition, we call on both the Coalition and Opposition to agree that the rate must be urgently raised by at least $75 per week.
“The evidence is in on the urgent need to raise Newstart – it has been 25 years since an increase to Newstart in real terms and there’s agreement across the community, seniors groups, the business sector, economists, local governments and from John Howard on the need for a real increase.
“While a Parliamentary Inquiry will confirm the existing overwhelming evidence for an increase to Newstart, it should not prevent the Government from acting now and providing a minimum increase of at least $75 per week, which is urgently required.
“By increasing Newstart now, the Government would provide immediate assistance to people doing it tough while they look for paid work and would provide needed economic stimulus, creating jobs.
“Analysis by Deloitte shows the economic stimulus would have the greatest benefits in regional communities struggling with high unemployment so it makes sense that the majority of Nationals MPs support an increase to Newstart.
“Increasing Newstart would cost less than a third of the cost of the Government’s high-end tax cuts and would be more effective in providing economic stimulus.
“Across the Parliament more and more political leaders are listening to the community and supporting an increase to Newstart and Youth Allowance. We’re urging the Government to reconsider its position primarily based on the benefits for people and communities but also noting the strong economic benefits.”