Despite calls from the Australian Council of Social Services and unions for an immediate increase to NewStart of $75 per week the Morrison government has increased the payment by just $2.20, to a total of $275.10 per week.
This increase represents a 0.8% increase, at a time when CPI is growing at 2.1% and non-discretionary spending like healthcare, power and housing is growing much faster.
NewStart should be a safety net which allows people to get back on their feet and spend time looking for a job, not a tool of punishment which forces people deeper into poverty.
Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:
“The Morrison Government continues to demonstrate how out of touch it is with the experience of ordinary Australians. Telling people they can live on $275 per week is appalling.
“NewStart is a safety net, not a punishment. People who are out of work have done nothing wrong and deserve support, not poverty and scorn from a government full of wealthy and entitled people.
“Senator Lucy Gichuhi said earlier this year that her salary of $200,000 is “not a lot of money”, she’s now part of a government forcing people to live on less than $15,000.
“We need to change the rules so that NewStart provides people with the opportunity to get back on their feet and find work, rather than punishing them and driving them deeper into poverty.”