Grattan Institute’s Owain Emslie & Danielle Wood
The Newstart unemployment benefit is all over the news. It’s the subject of a Senate inquiry. Today, it will take evidence in Elizabeth, in what used to be Adelaide’s industrial north.
Should it be increased? Should recipients be paid with a cashless card? Or drug tested? Or stripped of their payments if they join climate protests?
To make sense of these proposals, it helps to know something about who receives Newstart payments. It’s a picture many of us have wrong.
Are most people on the Newstart unemployment benefit for a short or long time?
Here’s a heads-up. They are not particularly likely to be young, they are are not especially likely to be men, and more live in regional areas than we might expect.
Here are some facts to give us something to work with, set out in five charts:
Likely to be middle-aged
First, Newstart recipients are a lot older than you might think.
Half are over 45. Partly this is because unemployed people aged 24 or younger are more likely to be getting Youth Allowance.
But even if we include unemployed Youth Allowance recipients in the figure, an outsized 45% of all unemployment benefit recipients are over 45. One quarter are over 55.
Women on Newstart are older still: 51% of female job-seekers are over 40, compared with 42% of male job-seekers.
SOURCE: Social Policy Connections. “Five charts on what a Newstart recipient really looks like.” Social Policy Connections, 2019.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present
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