Newstart or Not enough to start

A survey revealed that 68% of Australians believe Newstart Allowance is inadequate to live on and should be increased.

Newstart is paid to people when they are looking for work. The payment is worth $272.90 a week for a single person without children and hasn't been increased in real terms for 24 years.

That is roughly $39 a day, leaving many recipients in a position where they cannot afford basic essentials like food, housing, transport and energy.

A recent report by the Salvation Army has found that, generally, people living on Newstart have a total of $17 a day left after paying for accommodation expenses to purchase everything else they need.

Yet despite the clear support for a rate rise and the demonstrated inadequacy of the payment, the 2018 Budget made no mention of increasing the allowance.

The Treasurer recently defended the decision to maintain the welfare payment freeze, stating that Newstart was not intended to be a payment you live on, but rather a payment 'while you get yourself back into work'.

That's all well and good, but there are fewer jobs than there are people looking for work. And the jobs that are available are not necessarily in the right location and may not match the skills of people looking for work.

Additionally, many people living on Newstart are locked out of the labour market. They don't have the money for many things required to find work including transport, technology, clothing, education, etc.

When or if unemployed people do find work their troubles don't necessarily end there.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has found that only 60% of Australia's total employment is made up of 'standard jobs', leaving four million workers in what they call 'insecure work'.

This type of work is on the rise and includes casual contracts, short-term or part-time contracts and independent contractors. Work like this doesn't offer much financial stability, job security, sick leave or holiday leave, in some cases leaving workers not much better off.

A Greens Senator recently put forward a motion to raise Newstart and community organisations, including CPSA, are calling on the Australian Parliament to support that motion and raise Newstart by $75 per week.