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Newstart inquiry to begin public hearings

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Media Release - 26 August 2012

Newstart Inquiry to begin public hearings

A Senate Committee investigating the adequacy of allowance payments such as Newstart will hold its first public hearings this week.

The Inquiry was instigated by Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who lived on the equivalent of Newstart Allowance for a week earlier this year to demonstrate the challenges faced by job seekers.

“This Inquiry will examine the adequacy of the allowance system for jobseekers - with a focus on where the system is failing to support people into work,” Senator Siewert said today.

“We know that over 60% of people who receive Newstart are on the payment for more than 12 months.

“Clearly there is a failure somewhere along the line - and forcing people to live on as little as $35 per day is not the way to change this trend.

“Newstart remains more than $130 per week below the poverty line. Over the course of weeks and months it becomes harder and harder to live on, which subsequently makes it harder and hander to find work.

“This is of real concern to those people who need further education, training or skills development, older jobseekers or jobseekers with a partial disability.

“The committee has already received a range of very strong submissions from members of the public as well as community, business and legal organisations.

“I look forward to the opportunity to discuss a range of issues with these groups during the upcoming hearings,” Senator Siewert concluded.

Media Enquiries - Chris Redman on 0418 401 180

Public Hearings will be held in Melbourne on Monday and in Canberra on Tuesday.

For more information: Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References Committee Inquriy: The adequacy of the allowance payment system for jobseekers and others, the appropriateness of the allowance payment system as a support into work and the impact of the changing nature of the labour market