Delegates from local councils across Australia supported a motion at their national conference yesterday (19 June) for the federal government to increase the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments as a matter of urgency.
Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS congratulates the National General Assembly of Local Government for recognising the urgent need for an increase to the lowest income support payments in Australia, which would benefit local communities across the country.
“Polling shows more than two-thirds of people in Australia want Newstart increased. We have leaders from across the community calling for an immediate increase, including leading charities, the Business Council of Australia, the ACTU, and leading economists. Now the whole of the local government sector supports a motion calling on the Federal government to increase Newstart.
“What more does this government need to convince them that the rate of Newstart is a barrier to employment and training, and that people are struggling to put food on the table, let alone secure paid work?
“We call on the Federal Government to commit to increasing Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments as a matter of urgency because everyone should be able to eat three meals a day.”
Pas Forgione, State Coordinator of Anti-Poverty Network SA, has been leading the charge to get local governments to support a Newstart increase.
“By passing this motion, Australia’s local Councils have stuck up for those who are out of work and experiencing increasing poverty,” says Mr Forgione.
“Raising Newstart would not only benefit the health and wellbeing of the unemployed, but also benefit the local economy by increasing the spending power of those on low incomes.
“Councils witness the direct results of residents experiencing poverty. They provide many free/low-cost services to the disadvantaged and excluded – services facing increasing demand, partly because of inadequate income support payments.
“The fight for higher income support payments is a fight that Councils should be part of, and we welcome their support for an increase to Newstart and related payments.”