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Today, Barnaby Joyce unexpectedly broke rank, calling for an increase in Newstart payments. Sadly, his message didn’t travel far, as Scott Morrison stated that he has “no plans” to do such a thing.
Earlier today, Barnaby Joyce sensationally called for an increase in Newstart payments, citing the difficult existence for those living in the bush.
“If someone’s on Newstart in a town like Woolbrook, it’s going to cost you $50 to go to Tamworth to do the groceries or go to a job interview. They live in those places because the rent’s cheap but the rent’s cheap because it’s a long way from the services,” he said.
Barnaby Joyce joins Matthew Canavan and Arthur Sinodinos in calling for an increase to Newstart. The Labor Opposition has confirmed that Newstart is too low and a growing number of Labor MPs are calling for an urgent increase. The Greens have long supported raising Newstart, and almost all crossbenchers, representing diverse electorates, have backed the Raise the Rate campaign.
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) welcomed the move, with acting CEO Jacqui Phillips saying, via a statement: “We know from Anglicare’s research that across the entire country, there are only two rental properties affordable to someone on Newstart.
“For people living in regional areas, often job searching requires access to a car and fuel. For those in more urban areas, rent is even more expensive and there are public transport costs, on top of food, energy and other bills.
“Newstart has not been increased in real terms in 25 years and at $40 a day, it is simply not enough to get people through tough times – it condemns people to huge financial stress making it harder for them to find employment.
“By raising Newstart, we can support people to get through tough times and, as Deloitte’s research shows, we would stimulate the economy and create jobs where they’re most needed, in struggling regional areas.”
Soon thereafter, Scott Morrison was asked whether he would increase the current Newstart. Morrison bluntly stated that there were “no plans to do that,” and quickly note an improvement in the unemployment rate, proclaiming “how good are more jobs?”.