Heavy Lifting for Long Term Unemployed
Our minimum wage is now $662 per week.
Our poverty line is $503 per week.
Our Newstart allowance is $255 per week.
Our Newstart allowance is very low compared with other affluent countries. But a poll last year confirmed that the majority of Australians want the unemployed to be paid less. That’s why the former Labor Government refused to increase Newstart despite a strong campaign from the community sector.
That’s why the current Federal Government has become even meaner, denying long term unemployed people any income for periods of 6 months followed by 6 months of compulsory work for the dole.
This is harsh and will lead to increased homelessness and imprisonments, we believe. I have always believed paid work is the best form of welfare assistance to unemployed people and I have never met a long term unemployed person who does not agree with me. But if there are no jobs, the failure of Centrelink to provide a safety net income is not acceptable and challenges the Australian ethos of a fair go.