Australian First: Cross Party Support for Raising Newstart

6 December 2018

Both of the major parties in South Australia have agreed that Newstart is “far too low” and have called on the Federal Government to make an urgent increase, in the interim report of a Parliamentary Inquiry into poverty, released today.

The first recommendation of the report, endorsed by Liberal, Labor, Greens and SA Best MPs, states:

The Committee agrees with the overwhelming majority of submissions to the inquiry that the Newstart Allowance is far too low and falls well short of the state-based poverty line.

The Committee calls on the Federal Government to make a meaningful increase to the rate of the Newstart Allowance (and other base allowances) as a matter of urgency.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“This cross-party support for an increase in Newstart is a national first and we call on the Federal Parliament to urgently follow suit.

“This impressive achievement for South Australia is testament to the hard work of SACOSS, Anti-Poverty Network SA, National Council of Single Mothers and their Children and everyone on allowances who has been sharing their story of how hard it is to get by.

“Nationally, almost 70% of the community, the majority of federal cross bench MPs, the Business Council of Australia and John Howard agree on the need to increase Newstart, the payment for people looking for paid work.

“Federally, the major parties are out of touch on this issue. The Coalition Government has tried to cut the already inadequate rate of Newstart. And the Federal Labor Opposition has promised a review should it win government but we don’t need a review to know that Newstart is trapping people in poverty and must be urgently increased.

“South Australia has the highest rate of poverty in Australia and is the location of the Australian Labor Party’s upcoming National Conference.

“We’re calling on the both of the major parties to commit to raising the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance, which is the single most effective thing they can do to tackle the persistent poverty we have in Australia, despite having the highest median wealth in the world,” Dr Goldie said.