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Unemployment Benefits See People Living Below the Poverty Line

Greens senator, Rachael Siewert has called for reforms after living on the equivalent of dole payments for a week.

There are concerns the Australian unemployment benefit is particularly low.

A report prepared by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling said “the Newstart allowance and Youth Allowance job seeker payment rates are indexed to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Consumer Price Index which is consistently lower than average household incomes growth and ensures that these households continue to slide further behind the rest of the community in terms of economic resources and opportunities.”

The Newstart program is one of the more concerning benefits in question as it remains more than $130 per week below the poverty line.

The average male weekly income in Australia is $1298, whereas singles with no kids who receive the Newstart allowance are eligible for $244 a week.

After basics are paid for, it is estimated recipients of the Newstart allowance have an average of only $22 a day discretionary money and people who receive Newstart payments are usually in the program for 12 months.

A Senate committee will hold public hearings on the adequacy of Newstart.


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