Close this search box.
Politics Latest News

Salvation Army calls on government to increase Newstart allowance

3 min read

The Salvation Army is calling for the federal government to raise the Newstart allowance.

Research conducted by the Salvation Army has revealed that the escalation of the housing crisis and food insecurity was leaving Australia’s most vulnerable at risk.

The 2018 Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS) revealed 95 per cent of the 1,267 participants reported they relied on government income support as their primary source of income. These same people were also living under the poverty line.

The Salvation Army says the inaction of the federal government will put further pressure on the charity to help families make ends meet. The ESIS report found that Newstart recipients are living on just $17 a day after accommodation expenses.

The Salvation Army’s Major Paul Moulds said: “It is simply inhumane that corporations and wealthy households are handed a tax cut, while the most disadvantaged and marginalised people in this country continue to be ignored.

“It is widely acknowledged it will take a minimum of $75 a week just to ensure people can live on the poverty line, let alone above it.”

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) said the calls are backed by former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, the Council of Small Business, the Deloitte Access Economics and the Business Council of Australia.

CEO of ACOSS, Cassandra Goldie, said: “A minimum increase of $75 per week to Newstart and related payments will help people struggling to afford three meals a day cover the costs of essentials such as a roof over their head.”

The ESIS report revealed 81 per cent of respondents who are privately renting or paying a mortgage are living under extreme housing stress. It also revealed 90 per cent of households with dependent children are struggling to make ends meet.

More than two out of five households with children are experiencing food insecurity and are unable to afford three meals a day, fresh fruit and vegetables every day, or at least one meal a day with meat, chicken or vegetable equivalents.

“With the increase in the cost of living, we see people going without medication, skipping meals and adequate winter heating because they are caught in the cycle of poverty,” Moulds said.

Almost 60 per cent of respondents reported managing their mental health and emotional wellbeing was their greatest challenge, with 54 per cent unable to seek support from friends and family and 43 per cent feeling isolated.

On top of this, more than half of the respondents said their financial situation had become worse over the past 12 months with 28 per cent of job seekers citing the high costs of transport as one of the main barriers for finding suitable employment.

“We call on the government to listen to the community,” Goldie said. “The government must urgently raise the rate of Newstart and related payments as a first step in alleviating poverty and disadvantage for hundreds and thousands of people living in Australia.

“It must also work to improve employment opportunities and conditions for people on the lowest incomes to ensure that people in the lowest 40 per cent are not left behind.”

In a typical week, The Salvation Army provides more than 17,000 beds for homeless people, 40,000 meals for the hungry and over 1400 financial counselling sessions. It is calling on the Australian public to give generously to its upcoming Red Shield Appeal.

“We encourage those who are able to donate or volunteer for this year’s appeal because no one should have to go it alone,” Moulds said. “The Salvos can only meet the great need within our community because, year after year, Australians come together to stand by those doing it tough.”

+ posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Up