Newstart is pushing people into poverty, not helping them get a job

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During Anti-Poverty Week, the Australian community is encouraged to take action and focus on solutions to end poverty.

QCOSS is delighted that today during an Anti-Poverty Week event Queensland Treasurer, Hon Jackie Trad took the opportunity to publicly announce her passionate support and commitment to see an increase in Newstart. Minister Trad acknowledged that Newstart is too low and is pushing people into poverty, not helping them get a job.

QCOSS CEO Mark Henley said, “Everyone in Queensland should be able to afford a decent standard of living but most people receiving Newstart are living below the poverty line and don’t have enough money to afford the basics like housing, food, electricity and access to affordable health services.

QCOSS’ Living Affordability in Queensland report found that income support is not working as intended because it does not provide the support that people need to get back on their feet.

“It is appalling that our federal politicians have not increased Newstart and Youth Allowance in 25 years,” Mr Henley said. “In this time the basic costs of living have increased significantly, and many people are struggling to survive, often having to decide between putting food on the table and paying rent.”

“It’s well over due that politicians and policy makers start prioritising living affordability for every person in every community. We’re pleased that our Queensland Treasurer recognises this, and we now call on our national elected representatives to get on board and take action to improve the lives of those who need it most,” he said.

“We need targeted responses to support people experiencing financial vulnerability to make sure everyone can, at the very least, access the supports they need and afford a basic standard of living,” Mr Henley said.

For 60 years, QCOSS has been a leading force for social change. We believe that every person in Queensland – regardless of where they come from, who they pray to, their gender, who they love, how or where they live – deserves to live a life of equality, opportunity and wellbeing.

18 October 2019