Long after Ken Parish published his post You Can Survive on Newstart But You Can’t Live On It on January 6th it’s still attracting a steady daily trickle of readers. It also attracts the occasional comment describing survival on Newstart, most recently this one from Brenton:
Brenton on June 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm said:
Sorry to drag up an old thread, but I wish you had used average cost of housing in Sydney rather than Darwin public housing
NSW rents on tab 2 of this NSW government housing report.
Me single male IT pro 50 years old – Hundreds of job applications and not even a call back.
Dole + Rent relief $310 – rent $240 one bedroom behind a shop in Lakemba – that’s Sydney’s low cost immigrant landing suburb for the un-enlightened – electricity $30pw internet $20pw that makes $290 leaving me with $20pw. I rely on salvos and vinnies handouts for food. My cloths are rags that I cant afford to replace – and I still have to jump through the stupid hoops of the Job network.
I cant afford to hire a truck to move – cant afford to renew my license – so even if I had a car couldn’t use it to find somewhere cheaper. In any case there isn’t anywhere for around $150 pw because “student accommodation” mainly for foreign students has base-lined the rents anywhere within 50 miles of a university at $150 a week for a room.
And according to the centerlink moving away from work is a problem – I do IT so need to be near Sydney or Melbourne if I ever want to get work again.
So I am stuck – cant move – can’t get help – cant afford to live oh yes – have just filled in the bankruptcy paperwork.
Am learning to hate this government – both sides of it with a passion.
Today, via Matt Cowgill’s Twitter feed, I learnt of this paper on Australia’s income support system, ‘The Henderson Question? The Melbourne Institute and 50 Years of Welfare Policy‘ by Professor Bob Gregory: Gregory writes:
I … focus on aspects of ‘make work pay’, a central pillar of [income support] policy designed to move a significant fraction of [income support recipients] into employment. The other two pillars that matter, widening the scope of ‘make work pay’ by moving an increasing proportion of [income support] recipients from pensions to substantially lower ‘make work pay’ allowance payments and extending ‘job activation’, will receive less attention.
The essence of ‘make work pay’ is to improve employment incentives by increasing income when employed relative to income when not employed and, in this way, induce more [income support] recipients to spend more time in employment. Australian ‘make work pay’ policy does not increase income when employed. Employment incentives are improved by reducing income, relative to community standards, when not employed. Australian policy deliberately increases poverty, relative to community living standards, while on [income support]. (emphasis added)
There, in a mere two paragraphs, Gregory nails the underlying philosophy of Newstart.
So, in deference to anyone else who might have read Ken’s earlier post on life on Newstart but feel reluctant to bump a very old thread to discuss their experience, here’s a new comments thread where you can share your personal experiences of the hardships of life on Newstart.