As little as $38.98 a day - could you live on that? Find out what life is like for those on Newstart, and encourage others to share a piece of Australia's pie

$39.93 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*.


*UNSW Social Policy Research Centre, Budget Standards, August 2017 (includes Rent Assistance)


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 $39.93 a day? Don't you think life would be a little easier if we shared Australia's pie?


Life on newstart

Share your story


We're collecting people's experiences of what it's like to live on Newstart. No matter how long you've been on it, or your reasons why, we'd love to hear from you. If you just want to sign up to keep up with the campaign, that's ok too.

Tell us about your experience, we promise to keep it confidential unless you say it's ok to share.

"Getting a job. That would change everything."

A film about living on the Newstart unemployment benefit; the financial and personal struggle. Watch Trish's story.


Did you know?

Adjusting for inflation, Newstart hasn’t increased in real terms for 20 years


Source: Deloitte Australia, Weekly Economic Briefing, May 2018

*payments and wages adjusted for inflation since September 2000



Did you know?

679,518 Australians
are on Newstart*


Newstart women

50% Women


Newstart men

50% Men


* DSS Demographics, September 2018


40% can't pay a utility bill


50% don't have $500 in emergency savings


44% don't have access to dental treatment when needed

*ACOSS Paper 187



Lives $176 below the poverty line 

The Henderson poverty line for a single person, including Rent Assistance, is $523.88 per week.

*Melbourne Institute Poverty Lines, September 2018


News about Newstart

The latest researchmedia and commentary about Newstart


Start a conversation.

Life is better when you share it with someone else. Let's join together and make sure we all get a fair share of pie.



Share your pies with us!

Why not get together with family and friends (over pie!) and have a think about whether everyone gets a fair share of Australia’s pie? Tag us on Instagram using @sharethepie and #sharethepie or email your favourite recipes for others to share.


To help kick things off, Camilla Clark from Bakewell & Co, who made our special pies above, is sharing one of her recipes with us. Try it out and don't forget to share the results.