Labor MP Mike Freelander is urging colleagues to
Labor MP Mike Freelander is urging colleagues to "show a bit of guts” in campaign to increase Newstart payments. Matt Collins

YOUR SAY: Does Newstart need a boost?

NEWSTART should be increased by more than $100 a week to stop people being pushed into poverty, a federal Labor MP has argued.

Western Sydney Labor MP Mike Freelander is urging colleagues to "show a bit of guts" and campaign for the significant increase to $400 a week, up from $275.

Dr Freelander says the Morrison government is consigning people to the far outreaches of society with little prospect of improving their lives.

"I have discussed it with some of the welfare groups in my electorate and if they (people on Newstart) are going to be able to rent a room in a boarding house and provide for food and transport costs, that is the figure that we need to be looking at," he told The Guardian on Wednesday.

Another Labor MP, Nick Champion, told the publication a $75 a week boost is necessary, mirroring the rate advocated by the Australian Council of Social Service.

The government's changes to the pension income test has revived calls for an increase to its unemployment support.

But the coalition has flatly rejected the suggestion, repeating its long-held argument that the best form of welfare is a job.

What do you think about this? Here's what you said on Facebook:

Lindà Ann - I agree, up Newstart payment but be strict in regards to the length of time someone can be on Newstart.

Maree King - Yes and what happens to the Pensioners Aged and Disability do we live on a pittance still. Increase 1 increase ALL we all have to house ourselves pay bills and live medications, shall I continue?

Julianne Erskine - I think I'll apply for Newstart allowance. After Newstart, HCC, rent assistance, parent payment, child care allowance, etc, they get more money than I do working full time!

Vickie Brown - I've been there and it's bloody hard and demoralising. You go with out one thing to have the other. And as the kids get older you get less money and struggle more.

Carmel Bogdan - How about that kind of cash per week for pensioners. Those on pension only.

Danny Outlaw - Great work. Now the dole bludgers will get more than the average disabled or aged pensioners. Increase the pension for those that actually deserve a boost towards the increased cost of living. Why increase the Newstart allowance to encourage more people to do nothing? How about this for a suggestion. Give everyone on Newstart EBT cards and mandatory drug and alcohol screenings as the majority of long term bludgers are buying weed, crack and booze. But NO. That would be discriminatory. The average cost of rent is approximately $300 per week, costs of electricity and gas have just gone up AGAIN. Food prices are continuously increasing. Most people on Newstart are living with family and friends. That cuts their bills and increases their support. Most pensioners live alone or are forced into care because they cannot survive on what they receive. The average pensioner has a budget of $7 per day for food. Wake up politicians. Wake up Australia.

Tracey Wilcox - Not everybody on Newstart is a bludger .. fact

Kasey Hennessy - I was on Newstart and I believe it should get raised, imagine feeding you and your partner off $50 a week. Imagine not being able to learn to drive or even catch public transport. I nearly got so many fines because of train jumping because Centrelink wanted me to do courses which were useless and time consuming, job providers never helped me do what I want to do and remember in school us young ones weren't taught how to survive as an adult! Finding a job is hard, the only reason I have one now is because a friend gave it to me.



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