Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Before moving general business notice of motion No. 108, I wish to inform the chamber that Senator Dodson will also sponsor the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senator Dodson, move:
That the Senate—
(i) Newstart recipients were 6.8 times more likely to rate their health as poor compared to wage earners,
(ii) nearly half (48.6%) of Newstart recipients reported having mental or behavioural problems compared with 21% of wage earners, and
(iii) Newstart recipients were at 1.5 to 2 times increased risk of visiting a hospital compared with wage earners;
(b) acknowledges that the lead researcher, Professor Alex Collie stated 'My personal view is that an increase in the rate of Newstart would help people to become more healthy. It would help them to afford the things that a lot of us take for granted like food and housing, which are important things if you're trying to be healthy';
(c) recognises that poor health, poverty and financial stress is a barrier to work; and
(d) calls on the Federal Government to reduce the burden of ill health faced by Newstart recipients by immediately increasing the rate of Newstart.
The proportion of Australians receiving working-age income support payments has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years, at 14.3 per cent. The social security system provides income support to disability support pension and Newstart recipients, and the Newstart allowance rate is increased twice a year. In addition, they receive various health concessions and access to public health services. Australia has a targeted and comprehensive welfare system which is sustainable as a result of the government's prudent fiscal management and our strong economy.