Gin Gin's Michael Miles, 63,is on Newstart and looking for work.
Gin Gin's Michael Miles, 63,is on Newstart and looking for work. Mike Knott BUN220719MIC1

'Not a lifestyle choice': Pitt against Newstart rise

MORE government MPs have been added to their voices to the call for Newstart payments to rise, however Hinkler MP Keith Pitt is not among them.

MP Russell Broadbent and Senator Dean Smith, both Liberal party backbenchers, have come out in favour of a raise to the payment.

The prominent figures in favour of raising Newstart now include the Greens, ACOSS, former deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, ALP backbenchers and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

The debate about Newstart payments entered the national spotlight last week after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg deemed the payment adequate as most recipients find work within 12 months.

While statistically the Treasurer is correct, over 60 per cent of Newstart recipients move on to work in that time frame, many people are on the payment program far longer.

The average length of time on Newstart for a recipient in Hinkler is 159 weeks - more than three years.

Mr Broadbent said the funds to raise the Newstart payment could be found within existing resources.

The government has consistently opposed the raise to Newstart, arguing that it was more important to get people into work.

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt has consistently said the best form of welfare is a job.

"There can be multiple factors which contribute to how long a person remains on Newstart payments, but it is temporary assistance while someone seeks work, it is not meant to be a permanent lifestyle choice," Mr Pitt said yesterday.

Mr Pitt reaffirmed his position that government programs are there to support those looking for work to find suitable roles.

"There are a variety of programs to assist people find work, including the Youth Path program, Transition to Work and Employment First Aid once people do gain work and need some help. People need to take what work is offered to them," Mr Pitt said.