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Over two-thirds of Aussies back Newstart increase, ACOSS poll finds

Polling results finds almost 70 per cent of respondents are calling for an increase to Newstart allowance

Recent polling results have revealed that more than two-thirds of Australians are calling for an increase to the Newstart allowance in order to live with “dignity and justice.”

Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie, said the government will need to consider and implement the needs of the community by raising the Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments so that basic needs are met.

“The poll confirms that almost everyone agrees no one in Australia should go without basic essentials like food, healthcare, transport and power,” Goldie said.

“The Australian government can and should ensure that we can all live with dignity. It must do all it can to ensure that we can all put food on the table, including when we’re looking for paid work, studying, caring for children or suffering an illness.”

Goldie said that the polling results show that the vast majority expects a minimum standard of support. The 68 per cent of respondents who are in favour of the increase agree that basic needs are not being met under the current rates.

ACOSS said the payments have not increased in real terms in 24 years, leaving Newstart recipients struggling to avoid food insecurity and homelessness. Current Newstart recipients are living on $17 a day after accommodation costs.

Over 800,000 people – including parents, carers, people with disability, people locked out of paid work and students – are struggling daily to afford basic essentials. Already more than three million people in Australia live in poverty, including 730,000 children.

“Every day people on Newstart and Youth Allowance choose between eating dinner and turning on the heater, taking the bus to a job interview and buying medication,” Goldie said.

ACOSS is asking the government to listen to the increased community concerns and to support an immediate improved rate to the allowance.

“The parliament must increase these payments by a minimum of $75 per week to help people locked out of paid work put food on the table and a roof over their head.”


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