See More

Budget 2016: Now's the time to reform Newstart and Youth Allowance

Published: 16 February 2016

With the release of ACOSS's proposals for the Federal Budget today, AASW President Professor Karen Healy AM says now is the time to begin talking about reforming our outdated, unfair and destructive system of welfare allowances.

“This system is condemning too many Australians to years of poverty,” said Professor Healy.

She applauded the balanced approach taken by ACOSS in its budget proposals.

“For too long, budgets at a Federal level have failed to pursue goals of equity which would have resulted in a fair go for all,” Professor Healy said.

“The AASW has long called for the rates of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance to be increased above the poverty line and for them to be indexed to average wages rather than the Consumer Price Index.”

New research conducted jointly by the AASW and James Cook University has indicated that students dependent on allowances or Austudy (which is paid at the same low rate) are experiencing serious difficulties that are affecting both their lives and studies.

Nearly 40 per cent of those students indicated that they had to regularly go without food or other necessities because they could not afford them.

Professor Healy says it was not good enough that our society condemns those who cannot quickly find a job or students from lower socio-economic backgrounds to long periods of grinding poverty.

“These low payments do not act as an incentive to find full-time work. Rather they act to entrench long term poverty,” she said.

The Australian Association of Social Workers represents over 9,000 professional social workers from around Australia, many of whom work on the front line of poverty prevention.

To organise an interview with Professor Karen Healy AM please contact Emma Pegrum, Media and Marketing Manager, on 02 6199 5011 or 0408 200 191.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers