More Newstart will help more people into jobs
SCOTT Morrison and at least most federal government MPs want unemployed Australians to get a job. What they don't want is for Newstart Allowance to be raised.
All well and good if there were plenty of jobs to go around and unemployed Australians on Newstart had enough disposable income, after paying all their bills and necessities of life, to be able to afford all the fuel required to drive around the countryside to look for work.
The problem is - there isn't plenty of jobs to go around and Newstart Allowance is not enough to allow for anything bar the most essential of travel from point A to point B.
Not that such a logical and common sense equation is understood by Mr Morrison and a swag of his MPs, and many on the Labor side as well.
Mr Morrison and his fellow parliamentarians who are against momentum to have Newstart Allowance increased substantially, but not excessively, need to get real.
At the very least, in line with constant cost of living increases over the past decade or more, Newstart Allowance should be immediately increased to a flat $300 a week.
That extra $30 to $35 a week for Newstart recipients would at least allow for some extra travelling and fuel expenses which inevitably have to be incurred if jobseekers are genuinely looking for work outside their immediate area of residence.
Take me for example, being in Laidley.
Am I going to travel to somewhere like Toowoomba or west Ipswich once a week looking for work which more than likely I won't find if the round trip of $20 in fuel is going to eat into the pittance I have left over each week which I need to pay for food, electricity and rates?
I am not going to.
It's that simple. Just about every unemployed Australian in regional areas is in exactly the same boat.
They are living below the poverty threshold, on an "inadequate" Newstart Allowance, holed up in their own town, which more often than not are wracked by hyper unemployment.
On top of that jobseekers are weighed down by anxiety, depression and isolation as well as crushing financial pressures.
When you feel like that and are in that predicament, you are not exactly a ball of energy, full of life and zest and capable of looking for work. The message to all federal politicians who are anti-Newstart increase in two words is "wake up'.
TIM BADRICK, Laidley