“More food for my kids”; “replace worn-through clothing”; “keep a car running to get to a job” – ACOSS survey shows what a Newstart increase would really mean

ACOSS says the results of its survey of Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients must serve as an urgent, moral wake up call for the Government. 

The survey of 489 people on Newstart or Youth Allowance found: 

·      84% skip meals to save money 

·      44% skip more than 5 meals a week

·      66% don’t use heating in winter

·      64% don’t use cooling in summer

·      63% don’t eat meat

·      54% don’t buy fresh produce

·      68% only buy second-hand clothes

·      More than half have less than $100 left per week after housing costs.  

We asked respondents how they scrape by: 

“I eat 1 sachet of porridge, 1 tin of food, and 1 popper (for Vitamin C) a day. Sometimes I can’t afford the porridge. 

“I only shower about once a week to save on water and electricity costs. I only flush the toilet when necessary. I am no longer purchasing food that requires refrigeration, so that I can turn the fridge off.” 

We asked respondents what an extra $75 a week would mean for them: 

“I would have enough to rent privately and get out of this abusive situation of where I live.”

“I could get more food for my kids.”      

“I would be able to replace clothing which has worn through use.” 

“I would be able to keep my car, which would increase my chances of getting work!”

“I’d be less afraid of the postman (and the bills he brings)!”

“I could feel like a human again.” 

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said: 

“Australia is the wealthiest country in the world, yet we have people skipping meals, staying in abusive relationships and showering once a week because they are on the grossly inadequate Newstart payment. 

“Newstart is not working – $40 a day is not enough to get people through tough times and into suitable paid work. 

“Our survey shows people can’t afford rent, food, energy, clothing, transport, haircuts, dental care or internet access, which severely hampers their chances of getting a job, especially as there is only one job available for every eight people looking. 

“An urgent increase of $75 a week is the absolute minimum we need after 25 years without a real increase.”

Read the report on the survey responses: 190729 Survey of people on Newstart and Youth Allowance