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Low incomes keep people out of work

Jan 24, 2012, 00:00 AM by Anglicare Australia

Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers has pointed to inadequate income as one of the obstacles that keeps people out of work.

“You need to spend time and money to get a job” Ms Chambers said today.

“But once you’ve been out of work for a while, you usually find you have real money problems, spend most of your time managing on a day to day basis, and have no cash to find or prepare for possible work. This can have a profoundly debilitating effect.”

Anglicare Sydney’s budget submission, released this week, points to the high proportion of their Emergency Relief clients living on Newstart allowance, and the higher likelihood of many of those people – single adults and families with young children – to be homeless or living in precarious circumstances. (See over page for more detail).

To quote the Anglicare Sydney submission

While ER centres witness a range of people presenting with financial hardship and material deprivation, the situation for those on Newstart appears to be significantly worse than for those on other benefits – as shown by the very low levels of income across the board for this group and the much higher levels of insecure housing and vulnerability to rental stress.

“Anglicare Australia commissioned research towards the end of last year that tested Australian attitudes generally about the level of welfare allowances. The vast majority believed income support should be set to the cost of living or linked to growth in wages.”

“That’s because, at heart, most people understand that an inadequate income is a handicap rather than an incentive for people to find work.”

“The Newstart allowance of $245 per week leaves people concentrating on survival; juggling the basics of finding food, paying bills, and avoiding homelessness” Ms Chambers said.