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Vinnies calls on government to up Newstart Allowance

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The St Vincent de Paul Society is urging both sides of politics to commit to increasing the Newstart Allowance by $50 a week.

“You don’t help people into a job by forcing them to live below the poverty line,” St Vincent Paul Society CEO Dr John Falzon said.

The St Vincent de Paul Society has called for the Newstart Allowance to increase by at least $50 a week, with single people on the benefit currently receiving $527.60 a fortnight.

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,” Falzon said.

“We have consistently supported increasing Newstart, the Youth Allowance and Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and indexing all payments to wages rather than the CPI.

“We also reaffirm that you don’t create more jobs by undermining the minimum wage or penalty rates, both of which would be bypassed, for example, by the government’s proposed PaTH program.”

The society also expressed concern over the growing number of people seeking urgent assistance who were trying to survive on parenting payments, the Disability Support Pension, or on low-paid insecure work.

“Rather than increasing employment, changes to single parenting payment arrangements have instead pushed up to 150,000 disadvantaged single parent families and their children into deeper poverty,” Falzon said.

“If the incoming government is really concerned about child poverty, then it must immediately reverse policies that are bumping single parents from poverty-level payments to well below poverty-level payments.”

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