Media Release: Government Turns Its Back On Regional Australians Doing It Tough
2.45pm | October 14, 2019
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW CABINET SECRETARY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
Today marks the beginning of Anti-Poverty Week. Reducing poverty remains a significant challenge for Australia and it is clear this government has no plan to help those left behind.
Regional Australians are struggling to make ends meet, including thousands of people on the north coast who are struggling to keep up with the cost of living. According to the Department of Social Services (March 2019), almost 3,000 people in Lismore, almost 3,000 people in Clarence Valley, 660 people in Kyogle and 1,287 in Richmond Valley are receiving Newstart or Youth Allowance payments. Recipients of Newstart are left with as little as $40 a day to pay for rent, bills and put food on the table.
The Liberal National Government’s refusal to consider raising Newstart shows a blatant disregard for the financial reality many in the community face every day. It’s time for regional Liberal and National MPs like Kevin Hogan to stick up for regional communities by supporting an increase to the rate of Newstart to help people doing it tough.
Newstart is so low that it’s stopping people from re-entering the workforce. Recipients report that they are unable to afford the basics, let alone items necessary to attend job interviews such as new clothes, transport and internet and phone access.
Raising the rate of Newstart would not only help Australians get by, it would also inject a much-needed financial boost to the local economy and the regions that need it the most. This is vital for areas such as Lismore with many local businesses still recovering from the impacts of the 2017 flood.
For example, the 2018 Deloitte Access Economics report found that raising Newstart would inject billions into the Australian economy, as well as boost regions, with the Northern Rivers and Lismore economies being major beneficiaries.
Rather than helping the community by keeping people out of poverty and providing opportunities for job creation to keep up with the cost of living, this Government continues to cut income support and leave people struggling to get back on their feet.
MONDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: LEILA STENNETT 0436 632 388