Haines calls for Newstart rise

For immediate release: 6 May 2019

Contact: Jamie Kronborg | media@helenhaines.org | 0409 912 967

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines today announced that if elected she will push for a $75 increase to the Newstart payment. Her announcement comes as a growing chorus of organisations warn that the payment is too low and that an increase would benefit regional economies like Indi.

“Newstart is meant to be a transitional payment for those in difficult times between jobs. But with the rate of Newstart payment so low, people are instead falling into poverty. How is someone supposed to find work if they don’t have a roof over their head of can’t afford to buy clothes for a job interview?”

“We all know the cost of living is rising. But in real terms Newstart hasn’t risen in over 25 years.”

“In a country like ours I just don’t accept that when people lose their jobs or fall on hard times they then should have to start making choices between whether to put dinner on the table or turn the heating on.”

“Everyone from the Business Council of Australia to the Australian Council on Social Service agrees that Newstart needs to be raised. The only ones holding out at the Liberal, Labor and National Parties.”

At $39.30 a day, Newstart is approximately 40% of the minimum wage. A higher proportion of working-age people receive Newstart in regional areas (6.6%) compared with major cities (4.9%).

Dr Haines also pointed to modelling by Deloitte Access Economics which showed that a $75/week increase to Newstart would inject $4bn into the Australian economy in the first year with most of the top twenty local areas to benefit in regional Australia

“It all flows back. In regional communities, people spend money locally. Those few extra dollars that go to Newstart recipients then get spent in our communities, which in turn supports small businesses and jobs.”