Coker supports increasing Newstart payments
CORANGAMITE Labor federal member Libby Coker has thrown her support behind raising Newstart by at least $75 a week.
There have been increasing calls for the federal Coalition to increase the amount of the allowance paid to people who were unemployed and looking for work, which presently works out to about $40 a day.
The Australian Council of Social Service, which has recently launched a “Raise the Rate” campaign for a $75 weekly increase, says Newstart has not increased in real terms in 25 years.
Ms Coker said people living in her electorate and elsewhere in Australia were “finding it impossible to meet the daily costs of living on just $277 each week”.
“Even with the addition of subsidies and other allowances the base amount is insufficient and it is unfair to expect Australians, who have found themselves in tough circumstances, to live in substandard conditions.
“People need to be able to afford to house and feed themselves and their families; we cannot continue to force people to live in circumstances where they are unable to meet the basic costs of living.
“It is counter-intuitive for the Morrison Government to continue refuse to increase Newstart; this low payment makes it harder for people to get a job.
“If jobseekers cannot afford the basic costs of living, how can they afford to access education and training, or even find the resources to pay for transport to an interview? How can they compete in our tight labour market?”
She said the focus should be on boosting employment participation rather than confining people to Newstart when they could be engaged as productive employees.
“Australians are a hard-working lot when they are given a go. It is time that we gave people on Newstart more opportunity to return to the workforce.”