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Newstart Inquiry 2019

The Australian Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs has released its report on the adequacy of Newstart and related payments. The inquiry gathered evidence from over 450 submissions and witnesses, including organisations, academics, state and local governments, and individuals.

The Salvation Army was pleased to make a submission expressing several concerns about Newstart, Youth Allowance and other welfare payments. This is a key advocacy area of our organisation, thus we were well equipped to provide evidence in our submission of how the inadequacy of these payments is a major driver of disadvantage in Australia.

 

Thank you for sharing your stories

 

Our submission to the Australian Senate Committee’s Inquiry included 248 stories received in response to our request for people on Newstart to tell us what they think the Committee needed to know. These reflect the stories of the people we work with so that the lived experience of welfare is on public record. We have also shared the stories with MPs to inform them about what is going on in their electorates.

The Salvation Army’s submission can be found here (PDF). Other submissions can be downloaded here (The Salvation Army’s is submission #117)

 

The final report

 

The Committee’s report contains 27 recommendations and acknowledges that the income rates are inadequate, and that the welfare system is not meeting its objective of ensuring a minimum standard of living.

Click here for the Senate Committee’s report from the Australian Parliament House website.

 

Continuing advocacy

 

The report also acknowledges the Government’s current temporary measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and recommends that, once the Coronavirus Supplement is phased out, the JobSeeker Payment (formerly Newstart) and other support payments be increased to ensure that all eligible recipients do not live in poverty.

The Salvation Army welcomes this recommendation and will continue to work together with the Government to address payment inadequacy and advocate for an increase to the base rates once the pandemic has passed.

The Salvation Army acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters throughout Australia. We pay our respect to Elders and acknowledge their continuing relationship to this land and the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.

The Salvation Army is a child safe organisation that is committed to ensuring the wellbeing of children and young people, and protecting them from harm.

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