Research by Per Capita shows that 54% of people living in Hobart and 70% of people living in the rest of Tasmania support a $75-per-week increase to Newstart, the payment for people looking for paid work.
Emma Dawson, Executive Director of Per Capita, a national independent progressive think tank, said:
“Our annual tax survey shows that Australians want to see more spending on public services and there was a strong sentiment that tax system is skewed in favour of the rich.
“The survey shows a majority of Australians support an increase in Newstart and that in Tasmania, 54% of people living in Hobart and 70 per cent people living outside the state’s capital believe Newstart should be increased by $75 a week, as proposed by the Australian Council of Social Service.”
CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie, who is currently in Hobart, said:
“Tasmanians understand that Newstart is not working – the rate of $40 a day has not been increased in real terms for 25 years while living costs for people on low incomes have gone through the roof.
“The equivalent of less than $15,000 a year is too low to support people to get through tough times and into suitable employment.
“Raising the rate by about $10 a day will get Newstart working. It will mean people can focus on their futures rather than having to be totally consumed with their current situation of financial crisis.”
CEO of the Tasmanian Council of Social Service Kym Goodes said:
“There are about 20,000 people in Tasmania who receive Newstart and about 8,000 who receive Youth Allowance, which is even lower than Newstart. They include young people making the transition from study, single parents of school-age children and older Australians confronting technological change.
“As well as increasing Newstart, we need the state and federal governments to work together to provide secure, decent jobs, including outside of Hobart, and work to overcome the discrimination many older people, people with disability and people with caring responsibilities face when looking for jobs.
“For Newstart to work it needs to be enough to cover the basics so people who are looking for a job, studying, caring for children or recovering from injury or illness, can live with dignity, without the stress of juggling debt,” Ms Goodes said.