$38.48 a day – That’s how much an unemployed single adult has to live on. That’s not much pie. On Newstart, even if you get Rent Assistance, it’s eaten pretty quickly. In fact, it’s gone*.
This website is an initiative of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and members of a project team from the Committee for Melbourne‘s business and civic leadership program, Future Focus Group. Group members approached the Brotherhood to collaborate on a campaign to spur community conversation about inequality issues and a ‘fair go’ for all. Those involved are Lawrence Lam (fund manager), Gavin Scherer (engineer), Natalie Thorne (scientist), Sarah Tutton(film curator) and Elise White (HR general manager).
Australia’s pie is some of the best … but not everyone gets a fair slice.
Newstart is designed as a bridge until people find paid work, we get that.
But payments are now so low that people struggle to pay for essentials such as food and housing, not to mention putting away cash for an emergency. On top of this, looking for work takes time, money and effort.
So if you’ve never been on Newstart, consider this: a single person on Newstart is getting less than 40% of the minimum wage in Australia.
And, because of the way Newstart is calculated, the gap between what a job seeker receives and what the average Australian earns is growing bigger and bigger.
Research indicates that such low incomes are linked to higher rates of homelessness and rental stress. In Victoria alone, one study found 43% of rough sleepers were on unemployment benefits. Australia’s pie is not being equally shared.
If you were on Newstart, how would you fare on as little as $38.48 a day? Don’t you think life would be a little easier if we all had a fair share of Australia’s pie?
Did you know that 746,681 Australians are on Newstart?
SOURCE: Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2017.
Knaus, Christopher. “Centrelink delays leave recipients unable to pay for rent or food.” The Guardian, 25 October 2017. [open access @ 25 October 2017]
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia