UNSW research: 'Newstart Allowance does not provide an adequate safety net for the unemployed'

A research report by the University of New South Wales Social Policy Research Centre has reviewed the budget standards for people on the minimum wage and those who are unemployed. The findings reveal that although 'the estimates suggest that although the minimum wage is adequate for single people, it is not adequate to meet the needs of many couple families with and without children, while Newstart Allowance does not provide an adequate safety net for the unemployed, whatever their family status.'

Authored by Peter Saunders former Director of the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at the University of New South Wales and current Research Chair in Social Policy within the Centre and Megan Bedford, Senior Research Officer at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney. 

Read the report: New minimum healthy living budget standards for low-paid and unemployed Australians

ABSTRACT: A budget standard indicates how much a particular family living in a particular place at a particular time needs in order to achieve a particular standard of living. This article presents new estimates that build on the earlier budget standards produced by the Social Policy Research Centre in the 1990s. The new budgets incorporate increases in consumer prices and community standards and reflect changes in item availability, retail practices and shopping behaviour, as well as improved research methods, 20 years of use and experience, and new data. They are designed to achieve a minimum income for healthy living standard and apply to families with a breadwinner who is either in full-time work and receiving the minimum wage, or unemployed and receiving Newstart Allowance. The estimates suggest that although the minimum wage is adequate for single people, it is not adequate to meet the needs of many couple families with and without children, while Newstart Allowance does not provide an adequate safety net for the unemployed, whatever their family status.

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