ACOSS and SACOSS will outline the results of an online survey of Newstart and Youth Allowance respondents, which has found:
• 90% of South Australian respondents were not looking forward to the holiday season due to the cost
• 81% of SA respondents felt their low income would prevent them from being able to spend time with family and friends over the holiday period.
ACOSS, SACOSS and the SA Anti-Poverty Network are meeting with SA Mayors today to continue their campaign calling on the Federal Government to increase Newstart (the government payment for people locked out of paid work). They are also calling on the federal Labor Party to commit to increasing the payment at their upcoming conference in Adelaide.
The online survey of 461 people receiving payments (mostly Newstart, at 72% of respondents, or Youth Allowance, at 12% of respondents) ran from November 14 – 25, 2018. The survey included 72 respondents from SA (16% of respondents). The survey is a sample only and is not representative.
• 88% or all respondents and 90% of SA respondents strongly agreed or agreed they were not I am not looking forward to the holiday season because they were concerned about the cost
• 90% of all respondents and 92% of SA respondents strongly agreed or agreed they would not have enough income to cover the basics over the holiday season, like housing, food and bills
• 85% of all respondents and 81% of SA respondents strongly agreed or agreed that their low income would prohibit them from being able to spend time with family and friends over the holiday season
• 92% of all respondents and 95% of SA respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their low income would prohibit them from being able to give presents to family or friends
• Some of the most common words used by SA respondents to describe the holiday season were ‘stressed,’ ‘anxious,’ ‘alone’ and ‘depressed.’
ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said:
“While many are counting down to the holiday season, it is filling people on low incomes with dread.
“With nothing to spare already, it’s often impossible to find money for gifts, for food to contribute at social events, or transport to get to them. Too many people low incomes, such as Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients, find themselves feeling especially isolated at this time of year.
“Newstart, the payment for people locked out of paid work, has not been increased in real terms for 24 years and is just $39 a day, which is simply not enough to cover the basics of life.
“We’re joining with the SA Anti-Poverty Network, a number of SA Mayors and the SA Council of Social Service to call on the Morrison Government to finally raise the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance. We’re also putting the call out to the federal Labor Opposition, which has its national conference on in Adelaide in a few weeks, when the SA Anti-Poverty Network choir will be making sure they get the message loud and clear.”
SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley said:
“Many South Australian households face cost of living pressure at the best of times and we know Christmas can be a stressful and isolating time for many South Australians living in poverty.
“While local charities are trying to help, they often struggle to keep up with demand over the holiday period and we need the federal government to act on poverty by raising Newstart and Youth Allowance so people are not trapped into poverty in the first place.”