AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman said those living in the Canberra bubble remain oblivious to the stark reality of life as a jobseeker for millions of Australians.
“For people reliant on Newstart, competing effectively for extremely scarce entry-level jobs as well as surviving and being able to provide for their kids is nearly impossible,” Mr Sandeman said.
“In SA, nine entry-level jobseekers are competing for every suitable job – almost double the national figure.”
The latest annual Jobs Availability Snapshot also found that entry-level jobs made up just 10 per cent of all vacancies across Australia.
Mr Sandeman said the situation in SA is particularly tough with dire levels of unemployment and underemployment.
“If we are serious about supporting individuals and families, and building strong and sustainable communities, we must support and create opportunities for jobseekers at all levels,” he said.
“One-off payments and tax cuts won’t lift Australians out of the poverty trap.
“Raising Newstart, and related payments, would be one powerful step toward reducing poverty in our community. An increase is well and truly overdue.”
Through its emergency assistance hubs across the state, AnglicareSA works at the coalface of disadvantage in SA communities.
“There is much to be done when you consider the overwhelming challenges faced by our communities,” Mr Sandeman said.
“For many, while struggling to put a roof over their heads, keep the power on and have food on the table – they are also trying desperately to compete for secure, stable employment.”
Today, AnglicareSA joins with representatives from other key social and economic agencies at the Senate Inquiry into Newstart hearings, held in Elizabeth. The Inquiry will hear from a range of voices calling for this impossibly low rate to be raised.