Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters has thrown her support behind raising the Newstart allowance.
“Any one of us could find ourselves looking for work, or extra work, to make ends meet.
“Newstart is too low – it’s so low that people are being pushed into poverty and its preventing people from getting work.
“To survive, many are being forced to rely on charity and welfare agencies just to feed themselves and their families.
“I am calling on the Liberal National government to increase the Newstart rate to ensure that Australians can live in dignity whilst looking for work.
There are 5628 people on Newstart in the Bendigo electorate and the average time spent on the payment is 156 weeks.
Across the state, the highest cohort of on Newstart is people aged 45-55.
Chesters will establish an alliance to advocate for a rise in the Newstart rate.
“I will be working to gather community, welfare and faith based groups to help build a local campaign to raise the rate,” Chesters said.
“Central Victorians deserve to live in dignity whilst looking for work.
“After six years of inaction, the Liberals and Nationals are running out of excuses. The rate needs to rise.”
“I have met with local welfare groups and Newstart recipients across our region to learn first-hand about their struggles with the current payment.
Jenny Elvey from Bendigo Family and Financial Services says they see many people in financial crisis despite them receiving a Newstart payment.
“Many clients receiving Newstart present to our agency for food assistance and financial counselling.
“They struggle to keep a roof over their head and hold on to assets, feeding themselves is often the last thing they think about,” Elvey said.