MEDIA RELEASE: ACOSS calls on Cairns Council to pledge support for ‘Raise the Rate’ campaign for people struggling on Newstart

The ‘Raise the Rate’ campaign is visiting Cairns tomorrow to meet with local residents receiving the Newstart allowance and to call on the Cairns Regional Council to pledge their support for the campaign.    

The ‘Raise the Rate’ campaign is a national campaign coordinated by ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Service). The campaign will be hosting a community forum which will hear from local residents who are locked out of paid work share their stories about how tough it is to survive on the current rate of $39 per day.

 “Raising the rate of Newstart will make a huge, tangible difference in the lives of the 6,790 people receiving Newstart in Cairns,” said ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie.

 “Not only will increasing the rate help people eat and live a little better, it will also mean Newstart works better for improving social participation, strengthening local communities and increasing participation in paid work.”  

Analysis prepared by Deloitte Access Economics revealed that raising the rate of Newstart by $75 a week would generate an additional $32.66 million in income for the Cairns economy.

 “In these uncertain economic times, it is more important than ever before that people looking for paid work can keep a roof over their heads, pay their bills, and put food on their tables.

“We are in Cairns today to call on the Cairns Regional Council to sign up to the campaign and to be a voice for their residents who are desperately trying to find paid work under difficult and changing economic conditions.”

Local Newstart recipient, Peter Reay said “Newstart means being stuck in poverty, and it getting harder to lift yourself up and into employment. There is isolation, the struggle to stay afloat from rising costs, and the stigma that follows you to every job application or rare interview.”

The Raise the Rate campaign has seen business groups, charities, unions and local councils (22 across the country, representing over 1.6 million residents) unite to call on the Government to raise the rate of Newstart, the payment for people looking for paid work, which has not been raised in real terms for over two decades. 

Event details:

When: Thursday March 28, 2pm

Where: Cairns Senior Citizens Association, 271 Gatton Street, Westcourt

Who: ACOSS Campaign Coordinator Pas Forgione and local residents receiving Newstart will be available for interview

Contact: Bronte Kerr, 0411 676 269