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Newstart rate sees older Aussies spend 7+ years in poverty

By Cameron Micallef · October 11 2019
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Newstart rate sees older Aussies spend 7+ years in poverty

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By Cameron Micallef · October 11 2019
Reading:
egg
Old couple

The ongoing poverty and dangerous financial security that is facing older Australians has led to an advocacy group’s call for an urgent increase to Newstart payments. 

According to the Council on the Ageing (COTA), the 180,000 Australians aged over 50 that rely on Newstart spend two and a half times longer on the payment type than other age groups due to the issues they face in gaining employment.

This is leaving recipients over 50 on Newstart for 7.1 years, according to the industry body.

COTA Australian deputy chief executive Corey Irlam said: “Contrary to popular belief, almost one in four (24.6 per cent) Newstart recipients are over 50.”

“Once an older person becomes unemployed for a longer period ,they find it much more difficult to find a new job.”

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Mr Irlam has argued Newstart can’t be considered as a short-term solution as potential employees struggle to find work.

“The government’s most common defence of the current low Newstart rate is that it is a ‘short-term benefit’.”

The industry body has submitted papers to Parliament suggesting:

  • Raising Newstart by $75 a week for singles and proportionately for couples
  • Reconsidering means testing and the liquid assets waiting period so that older people do not need to draw down on their retirement savings
  • Immediately increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 40 per cent to provide urgent relief for older renters

“It is unacceptable that we expect people to survive for so long on $40 a day while finding paid employment or waiting to reach the age pension eligibility age,” Mr Irlam said. 

“In the interim, many are forced to forego some of the most basic requirements of living: food, medications and healthcare.” He noted that it is even harder for people who are still renting.

Newstart rate sees older Aussies spend 7+ years in poverty
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About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leveraging their insights to grow your portfolio.

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About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leveraging their insights to grow your portfolio.

Join The Nest Egg community

We Translate Complicated Financial Jargon Into Easy-To-Understand Information For Australians

Your email address will be shared with nestegg and subject to our Privacy Policy

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