The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia is proud to support the #RaiseTheRate campaign to increase the Newstart Allowance and independent Youth Allowance by $75 a week.
The current payment of just $38.99 per day is simply not enough to meet basic living costs. The Society maintains that forcing people to live below the poverty line does not help people into jobs; rather, it acts as a barrier to employment and participation.
The St Vincent de Paul Society has long campaigned for an increase to meagre income support payments and for those payments to be indexed to wages and price increases as an urgent priority. The Newstart Allowance has not been increased since 1994, and inadequate indexation has meant that payments and allowances have fallen behind wages growth and behind the costs of essential services.
While antipoverty advocates have been calling for an increase to Newstart for over a decade, the #RaiseTheRate campaign has given added impetus to the push to raise income support payments. The campaign draws together a diverse coalition of groups, including the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), local councils, trade unions, community groups, charities and unemployed people themselves.
Over the coming months the Society’s National Council office will be rolling out a range of resource materials to support the #RaiseTheRate campaign, including fact sheets, a template letter for members to send to their local MP, case studies and links to an online animation.
The Society also encourages supporters to sign a petition for the #RaiseTheRate campaign that has been started by the ACOSS and can be found at www.acoss.org.au/raisetherate/joinus/.
The #RaiseTheRate campaign has re-invigorated the push to increase support payments so they are accessible to those who need it and paid at a level that ensures human dignity and an adequate standard of living.
In June 2018, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) recognised the urgent need to increase Newstart and Youth Allowance payments when it held its national assembly. The ALGA is the latest of several high-profile organisations to support an increase in payments, including the Business Council of Australia, the ACTU, and leading economists.
Follow the Society’s advocacy on this important topic at: https://www.vinnies.org.au/page/Our_Impact/Incomes_Support_Cost_of_Living/