Wednesday, 14 October 2015
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the week beginning 11 October 2015 is Anti-Poverty Week,
(ii) the main aims of Anti-Poverty Week are to strengthen public understanding, and encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, and
(iii) poverty and severe hardship affect more than a million Australians;
(b) acknowledges the very important work undertaken by a large number of organisations across Australia in providing crucial services, such as food-banks, housing, social services, counselling and legal support among others, which make an invaluable contribution to Australian society; and
(c) calls on the government to:
(i) increase Newstart and youth allowance payments by at least $50 a week,
(ii) provide adequate support to people struggling with poverty, including young people accessing income support,
(iii) provide appropriate support to service delivery agencies, including stable and adequate funding, and
(iv) develop a national anti-poverty plan with clear targets and measures to address poverty in Australia.
The government will not be supporting this motion. Australia currently spends $150 billion a year on social security. Funds available for social security must be directed to those most in need while ensuring that the system remains sustainable for Australian taxpayers. An increase to rates for one payment would have an impact on government outlays and savings would need to be identified elsewhere.
The best way to reduce poverty is to grow the economy. By putting in place policies to drive growth and job creation we will be putting Australia in a position to prosper in a difficult global environment.