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Debate reignited to raise ‘disgracefully low’ Newstart payment after welfare budget savings

3AW Mornings

Debate has been reignited by welfare and business groups to raise the “disgracefully low” Newstart payments after the federal government recorded savings in the welfare budget.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison ruled out raising the payment following the release of 2017/2018 budget figures.

Australians on Newstart receive around $275 a week.

Emma King, CEO of the Victorian Council of Social Services, told Tony Jones there were numerous benefits to raising the welfare payment.

“It’s about 38.50 a day, the rate of Newstart hasn’t changed in 24 years and it’s now $175 a week less than the pension,” she said.

“We’ve called for a $75 a week increase.”

She said it was “disgracefully low” at the moment.

“We need to look at that, it hasn’t increased in 24 years, imagine even with a salary if you didn’t get a pay rise in 24 years,” she said.

“It’s good news particularly for regional communities.”

Tony Jones questioned where the money would come from.

“The money comes from choices the government makes, in terms of its budget at the end of the day,” she said.

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