25 July 2019
The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes the Australian Medical Association’s support for an increase to Newstart, the payment for people looking for paid work.
At the National Press Club, Australian Medical Association President Tony Bartone said:
“People on that allowance are experiencing significant stress and issues and that must have health impacts on their wellbeing.
“Clearly, if they are struggling, clearly, if it is insufficient to meet their needs, certainly from a health perspective, it makes sense to increase.”
Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie, said:
“Increasing Newstart makes sense for so many reasons and the impact on people’s health is key.
“We know that people on Newstart are skipping meals, sleeping rough, struggling through winter without electricity, and suffering deep financial stress – all of these things are severely harmful for their physical and mental health.
“Struggling to get by on the low rate of Newstart is far from a healthy existence.
“Half of people on Newstart are over the age of 45 and one in four people on Newstart have an illness or disability but have not been granted the Disability Support Pension. Not only do they have higher health costs, they also face challenges and discrimination in looking for paid work so can end up on the paltry payment for years.
“Single parents on the meagre Newstart payment are forced to try do the best they can for their children’s health without enough for healthy meals, secure housing or heating and cooling.
“Not only would Newstart improve health and reduce poverty, it would provide stimulus and create jobs, especially in regions of high unemployment.
“We warmly welcome the Australian Medical Association joining the Business Council of Australia, the Country Women’s Association, seniors groups, economists and many others in support for an increase in Newstart.
“The Government must listen to the community and the Parliament, including a number of Liberals, the majority of Nationals, the Labor Party, the Greens and almost all the Crossbench, and immediately increase Newstart.”