- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Greens deliver Newstart letters to Minister Shorten

12 March 2013

The Australian Greens today released a book containing more than 400 personal letters addressed to Minister Shorten, sharing accounts of the realities of life below the poverty line and supporting an increase to Newstart.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on families and community services has been collecting these letters as part of a long running campaign to increase the base rate of Newstart by $50 and said today that the letters clearly demonstrate the stress and anxiety caused by life on Newstart.

"I began collecting these stories because so many people who wrote to me wanted to share their personal experiences and explain to politicians what it's like to live in poverty," Senator Siewert said at Parliament House this morning.

"This book provides tangible evidence of the effects of living below the poverty line. There are letters from people struggling every day, struggling to pay the rent and skipping meals because their income support is so inadequate.

"Reading these stories, you get an overwhelming sense that life on Newstart is extremely bleak.

"There are also letters from individuals who have supported a friend or family member, from service providers that are struggling to support people living on Newstart, as well as letters from those who are concerned about how low Newstart is and can't imagine how they would survive if they found themselves out of work.

"This collection clearly demonstrates that people in the community care about this campaign and believe that the Government should focus on caring for people, rather than cave in to the demands of the resource sector.

"Only the Greens are working to improve this situation. Our private members bill increases Newstart and Youth Allowance by $50 per week- a step that has been supported by community groups, business organisations and economists alike.

"A second Bill, focused on Single Parents will be introduced to the Senate tomorrow, in order to provide an additional supplement of $40 per week, increase their income-free threshold and developing flexible work provisions for single parents and other carers.

"I now urge both the Minister and the Government to read the heartbreaking accounts in this book and support our legislation in order to immediately reduce the number of people living in poverty in Australia," Senator Siewert concluded.

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