This submission is in response to the Senate Inquiry into the Adequacy of Newstart and Related Payments and Alternative Mechanisms to Determine the Level of Income Support Payments in Australia.
Newstart is one of the critical support payments available to individuals who are experiencing unemployment or looking for work. The rate of Newstart, however, has not been increased in 25 years, while the cost of living has continued to climb. The NTCOSS Cost of Living reports identity how this increase particularly impacts those living in the NT; remote areas are unfairly burdened by high costs relating to transport and increased rental costs, prices have increased in key expenditure areas (such as utilities, education and health) and those living in the region (and in particular in remote localities) pay substantially higher rates for produce and other food items. As a result of this, vulnerable people face further challenges with damaging effects on people’s, health, social wellbeing and long term security, and poverty and disadvantage are becoming further entrenched in our communities.