Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn will be joined by Senator Jacqui Lambie, David Smith MP, Shane Rattenbury MLA and Joy Burch MLA to launch Anti-Poverty Week in Canberra. On Monday
14 October Vinnies is hosting a breakfast and panel discussion in support of the ‘Raise the Rate’ campaign.

Dave*, who was an HR professional with the public service until a few years ago, and is now couch surfing while surviving on Newstart, will share his story, and Dr Cassandra Goldie from ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Services) and Stephen Byron, Managing Director of Canberra Airport, will join Dave on the panel to discuss different perspectives on the importance of raising the rate of Newstart.

Adrienne Francis from ABC Canberra will MC the panel discussion.

Anti-Poverty Week runs from 13-19 October, and this year is focused on highlighting the ‘tipping points’ into poverty.

‘The inadequacy of Newstart is pushing many recipients into poverty and contributing to financial stress, housing insecurity, and diminished health and wellbeing,’ said Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn CEO Barnie van Wyk.

‘The low rate of the payment is pushing people to the brink and putting a strain on charities that are forced to cover the gap between Newstart and living with dignity. The inadequate rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance, Sickness Allowance and other similar payments means it doesn’t work. Instead of supporting people to find work, complete their study or to get through difficult circumstances it drives a growing number of people to seek our services’ he said.

“This is about fairness for the least well off in our country – and it is also good economics. Leading economic firms are calling for a major increase in this allowance. Fairness and good economics make this pretty compelling and a must do” said Stephen Byron, Managing Director, Canberra airport.

“Australia’s income support system should help people when they are going through tough times. But Newstart is not working – the rate has not been increased in real terms for 25 years while living costs have gone through the roof” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.

“By increasing Newstart, the Government can tackle poverty while providing much-needed economic stimulus, creating jobs, including in regional areas,” Dr Goldie said.

Anti-Poverty Week in Canberra is organised by a local committee co-chaired by ACTCOSS and Red Cross.

14 October 2019