Barnaby Joyce joins growing Parliamentary support for Newstart increase and highlights living costs in bush and city

The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes growing support in the Government and across the Parliament for an increase to Newstart, including from Barnaby Joyce, whose call for an increase has been reported on today.

ACOSS urges the Government to heed these calls and immediately increase Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments by at least $75pw.

Barnaby Joyce joins Matthew Canavan and Arthur Sinodinos in calling for an increase to Newstart. The Labor Opposition has confirmed that Newstart is too low and a growing number of Labor MPs are calling for an urgent increase. The Greens have long supported raising Newstart, and almost all crossbenchers, representing diverse electorates, have backed the Raise the Rate campaign.

Mr Joyce has highlighted living costs in the city and the bush, saying: “”If someone’s on Newstart in a town like Woolbrook, it’s going to cost you $50 to go to Tamworth to do the groceries or go to a job interview. They live in those places because the rent’s cheap but the rent’s cheap because it’s a long way from the services.”

ACOSS Acting CEO Jacqui Phillips said: “No matter where you live, getting by on Newstart is really tough. Instead of supporting people through tough times to find suitable paid work, Newstart leaves people to choose between a roof over their head and food on the table.

“We know from Anglicare’s research that across the entire country, there are only two rental properties affordable to someone on Newstart.

“For people living in regional areas, often job searching requires access to a car and fuel. For those in more urban areas, rent is even more expensive and there are public transport costs, on top of food, energy and other bills.

“Newstart has not been increased in real terms in 25 years and at $40 a day, it is simply not enough to get people through tough times – it condemns people to huge financial stress making it harder for them to find employment.

“There is one job available for every eight people looking for work and those who’ve been out of paid work for some time, as well as older people, single parents and people with disability, can face real challenges when looking for a job.

“By raising Newstart, we can support people to get through tough times and, as Deloitte’s research shows, we would stimulate the economy and create jobs where they’re most needed, in struggling regional areas.”

For more on the Raise the Rate campaign: https://raisetherate.org.au

Key facts:

– Newstart amounts to $282 per week, or $40 a day. This includes the Energy Supplement that everyone on Newstart receives.

– The next most common supplement received by someone on Newstart is Rent Assistance, which is a maximum of $69 per week for a single person without children. To receive this, though, you must pay at least $150 per week in rent.

– Only 40% of single people on Newstart receive Rent Assistance.

– Less than 20% of single people on Newstart receive Family Tax Benefit, and this is to meet the additional costs of raising kids.

– There is just one job available for very eight people looking for work.

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