15 July 2019
People on Newstart and Youth Allowance will be meeting with their MPs during a national Week of Action this week as part of the Raise the Rate campaign, sharing their stories and calling on their MPs to immediately raise the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance.
People on allowances across the country, as well as community organisations and other campaign supporters have signed up to meet with their MP and send a very clear message: you cannot get by on $40 a day.
For most of these people, it will be the first time they have ever met with a politician. Over 80 people, and counting, have registered to meet their MP. The meetings are being held across the country, including in Albury-Wodonga, Lismore, Cairns and Townsville.
The week will be marked not only by politicians hearing from their constituents about why Newstart needs a raise, but by community forums, lunches, rallies, stalls, local councils passing motions, and people on payments sharing their stories.
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) Acting CEO Jacqueline Phillips said, “Across the country, people are meeting with their MPs to explain that Newstart is not working – the rate has not had a real increase in 25 years while living costs have gone through the roof. At $40 a day, Newstart is not enough to get people through tough times and into suitable paid work.
“Raising Newstart would change people’s lives and boost the economy. People on Newstart must spend everything they receive in order to get by so an increase to Newstart would go immediately into the economy.”
Quotes from people taking part in the Week of Action:
“The reason I am taking part is because it affects my community of people with a lived experience of mental illness and other disabilities. I believe no one in this country should live in poverty.” – Kristy, Western Sydney
“As a person with a lived experience of Newstart, I know firsthand the difficulties of surviving below the poverty line. I know many people are caught in this cruel web. The reasons people find themselves here are beyond their control.” – Bev, Inner West, Sydney.