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SACOSS welcomes Adelaide Hearings of Senate Inquiry into Newstart

The South Australian Council of Social Service has welcomed the Senate Inquiry into Newstart hearings to be held in Adelaide this week and has called for the SA State Premier to follow the NSW Deputy Premier in urging his federal colleagues to reconsider their position on Newstart.

The Senate Inquiry is holding hearings in Elizabeth on Wednesday 30 October and will hear from local councils, leading South Australian charities, and most importantly, from people who have experience of trying to live on impossibly low payments while looking for work.

SACOSS’ written submission to the Senate inquiry highlighted Deloitte’s modelling that showed that a $75 increase in Newstart would increase South Australian disposable income by $288m in its first year as well as discussing how a South Australian parliamentary Select Committee last year heard evidence from people living on Newstart and concluded that the current payment was “far too low”. The Select Committee called on the Federal Government “to increase Newstart (and other base allowances) as a matter of urgency” – the first time such a call had come as a unanimous finding of a committee with representation of all major parties (Liberals, Labor, Greens, SA Best).

SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley said: “This Senate inquiry is an important opportunity for members of the Federal parliament to hear from people who are forced into poverty by inadequate income support payments, but having the Committee’s inquiry in Adelaide also highlights the need for the state government to add its voice to the chorus of calls for Newstart to be increased.”

“South Australian local councils led the country in calling on the federal government to increase Newstart; the Queensland, WA, Northern Territory and ACT governments have all called for an increase.”

“Just last week the Liberal Deputy Premier of NSW, John Bariliaro, called on his federal colleagues to reconsider their position on Newstart. The South Australian government is an obvious absentee from this national chorus, despite the obvious benefits of an increase in Newstart for a state where industrial restructuring has left areas of intense disadvantage and the second highest unemployment rate in the country.”

“Today we are, again, asking Premier Steven Marshall to call on his federal colleagues to increase the rate of Newstart.”

A number of local councils, NGOs and people living on Newstart will hold a media conference outside the Senate hearings at 10.30am tomorrow, Wednesday 30 October, Northern Sound System, 73 Elizabeth Way, Elizabeth.

SACOSS’ written submission to the Senate Inquiry is available here.




For further information or comment, contact:

Ross Womersley, SACOSS CEO, 0418 805 426

Caryn Rogers, SACOSS Communications Coordinator, caryn@sacoss.org.au 0420 750 344

Published Date: 
Tuesday, 29 October 2019