22 August, 2016
The St Vincent de Paul Society is urging all members of the 45th parliament to oppose measures that further erode the meagre income of people struggling to survive on Newstart and other social security payments.
A 2016 budget decision to close off carbon tax compensation in the form of the clean energy supplement would mean a cut for Age Pensioners, Disability Support Pensioners, sole parents, family payment recipients, carers, and Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients.
If the legislation is passed, the Newstart allowance would fall by $8.80 a fortnight.
“You don’t fix the deficit by taking away from those who have the least, especially when, in the same breath, you’re arguing for tax cuts for big corporations,” St Vincent de Paul Society Chief Executive Dr John Falzon said.
“You don’t fix poverty or unemployment by viciously cutting the already below-poverty-line unemployment benefit."
The Society calls on the government to urgently increase the $38 a day Newstart Allowance by $53 a week.
In 1996, the allowance was equivalent to 54 per cent of the minimum wage. It is now worth 40.2 per cent of the national minimum wage.
“In real terms, we have not seen an increase to the Newstart Allowance since 1994,” Dr Falzon said.
“You don’t help people into a job by forcing them to live below the poverty line.”
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