Nearly three quarters of Australians agree that Newstart should be increased to cover basic living costs and help people search for jobs, shows new polling commissioned by the Australian Council of Social Service.
The polling also shows that the majority of the community has concerns about the tax cuts announced in the budget.
The Essential Research poll of about 1000 respondents conducted on April 8 shows:
- 66% agree that it is not fair to give people on $200,000 a year a $200 a week tax cut
- 72% agree Newstart should be increased to cover basic living costs and to help people search for jobs
- 67% agree middle income earners would be better off with secure funding for services, such as health, education and aged care, than with a $20 per week tax cut
- 55% agree the tax cuts in the Budget will put funding for services, such as health, education and aged care, at risk
Note: agree total includes respondents who selected strongly agree and somewhat agree.
ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said:
“People on low and middle incomes end up paying the price of tax cuts in the form of funding cuts to essential services, such as health, education and aged care.
“Now is not the time for tax cuts. People are facing out-of-pocket expenses and wait lists for essential services, such as health, child care and aged care, as well as huge gaps in services, such as dental care.
“Instead of treating the election as a tax-cut auction, the community wants political leaders to commit to safeguarding quality essential services and to giving those on the lowest incomes the support they need by finally increasing Newstart after 25 years without a real increase.
“Newstart is not working – $40 per day is too low to give people the support they need to get through tough times and into suitable paid work.
“While the Labor Opposition agrees Newstart is too low and promises a review in order to increase it we don’t need a review to know that Newstart must be urgently increased.
“A new Federal Government should urgently deliver an absolute minimum of $75 per week to the single rate of Allowances plus indexation to wages.
“The evidence is in and, as this polling confirms to today, there’s widespread support for Newstart to be increased, including from business, the union movement, the community, leading economists and local governments,” Dr Goldie said.