Bill Shorten confirms a review of Newstart payments but no increase

Bill Shorten has announced an urgent review of Newstart at the Labor Party’s National Conference in Adelaide but makes no commitment to increase the payments.

“Labor is committed to a social security system which keeps people out of poverty, whether they are unemployed or in retirement.

That is why the previous Labor government undertook a review of the age pension and increased the rate of the pension so that Australians could have a decent life in retirement. 

Labor notes that after a quarter of a century with no increase to the rate of Newstart payments, the level of income for unemployed Australians is shamefully low by international standards.

Labor will urgently complete a review into the inadequacy of Newstart payments and make recommendations within the first 18 months of government, on how best to address this. The review should include broad consultation and surveying of unemployed Australians about how the low rate of Newstart impacts on their health, ability to re-enter employment and to afford basic necessities, with the responses to be publicly reported.”

CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie believes that a review will leave disadvantaged on Newstart in poverty and urges an immediate raise of the rate of Newstart payments.

Read more on The Guardian Australia’s live politics blog of the Labor National Conference: Labor fails to commit to Newstart increase despite promising voters a 'fair go' – as it happened


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