Adequacy Of Newstart And Related Payments And Alternative Mechanisms To Determine The Level Of Income Support Payments In Australia Inquiry

This submission makes the following key points:

  • Income is a significant social determinant of health that affects young people’s ability to access quality health care, appropriate housing, employment, education, healthy food and transport.

  • Rates of Youth Allowance and Newstart Allowance are patently inadequate to provide even the basics of independent living with both payments set well below the minimum wage and the Henderson Poverty Line.

  • Young people in receipt of Youth Allowance and Newstart Allowance regularly report going without meals, not being able to afford access to appropriate housing, and forgoing health care, pharmaceuticals, dental care and optometrist services.

  • With the average time that individuals spend receiving Newstart Allowance now up to three years, income support can no longer be considered a transitional payment. Recipients are forced into poverty and disadvantage over prolonged periods impacting their health and wellbeing throughout their lives.  

  • The rate of Youth Allowance and Newstart Allowance must immediately be raised to reflect the current cost of living and to enable recipients to live, work, study or look for employment free from the impacts of poverty.