ACOSS CEO responds to Bill Shorten’s acknowledgement that Newstart is too low

Welcome words on Newstart but we need action

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) welcomes the Leader of the Opposition’s clear acknowledgement today that the rate of Newstart is too low and calls on both the major parties to commit to raising the rate.

“We welcome Mr Shorten’s acknowledgement of what has been clear to the community, unions, business and experts for a long time – that $39 a day is not enough to cover the basics of life. We need more than a review,” said ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie.

“We don’t need a review to know that Newstart is trapping people in poverty. We need a clear commitment to immediately increase the single rate of Newstart by at least $75 a week.

“The evidence is in. There is broad agreement across the community, from business groups, the union movement and a growing number of politicians, including the Greens, Labor Chief Ministers, independents and Mayors, as well as John Howard and John Hewson, that we must finally lift the rate of Newstart after 24 years.

“Most people receiving Newstart live below the poverty line. It is very hard to look for a job when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from or how to put food on the table for your kids.

“People cannot afford to wait for relief while a review is carried out. The Morrison Government must act immediately to increase the single rate of Newstart and the Shorten Opposition needs to commit now to raising Newstart by at least $75 per week should it win government.

“Many of us are a job loss or a relationship break down away from relying on our social security safety net and 70% of voters believe Newstart should be increased. Politicians must heed the calls from right across the community on the need for a decent social security safety net.”

Contact – Monique Vandeleur 0419 626 155