Friday November 16, 2018: ACOSS can confirm that all of the crossbenchers of the Lower House of federal Parliament and key Senate crossbenchers now support an increase to Newstart.
“When Adam Bandt, Cathy McGowan, Kerryn Phelps, Andrew Wilkie, Rebekha Sharkie, and Bob Katter all agree, it’s time to stop talking and act,” said ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie.
“The diverse crossbench’s unity on increasing Newstart confirms just how out of touch the major parties are on this issue, as does polling which finds 68% of the community agrees we must increase Newstart.
“Most people receiving Newstart live below the poverty line. It is very difficult 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. For years, people have been telling their story, trying to get the Federal Government to hear them.
“It’s time for the Coalition Government to listen, and most importantly to act now to increase Newstart by $75 per week.
“The rate of Newstart has not been increased in real terms for 24 years, and since 2014, the Coalition Government has been trying to cut the payment even further. While the Labor Opposition has promised a review of Newstart should it win government, people cannot afford to keep waiting in poverty for politicians to finally act.
“We strongly call on the major parties to work together to urgently steer bipartisan legislation to raise the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance through the Australian Parliament before the holiday season.
“It’s time politicians righted this long-standing wrong and delivered social justice to people on the very lowest incomes in our wealthy country.
“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.
“Many of us are a job loss or a relationship break down away from relying on our social security safety net. We can afford a decent social security safety net and universal access to services by ensuring that businesses and individuals contribute their fair share of tax.
“We are, at our heart, a compassionate country and we want to be proud of who we are.”