Government Should Raise Youth Income Support

The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition is urging the federal government to provide appropriate support to young unemployed people and students, by raising the Newstart and Youth Allowances by $50 per week.

“There is no doubt that young people reliant on these payments live in poverty. Newstart is now so low – at just $35 per day. Young people who are receiving government benefits are telling us that they cannot afford to buy medicines, or pay for basics like train fares or suitable clothing when they go for job interviews,” AYAC’s Executive Director, Andrew Cummings said today.

“AYAC calls for all allowances to be immediately increased and automatically indexed to real cost-of-living rises. We also want to see improvement of essential support services that are needed to help vulnerable young people experience employment, education, housing and good health, “Mr Cummings said.

In addition to this, the government recently passed legislation that means that 21 year olds who have not completed Year 12 will lose access to Newstart and stay on the lower Youth Allowance until they turn 22 – meaning a drop in income of $43 a week.

“AYAC supports the government’s aim to get young people engaged in work or study, but this measure will simply make young people poorer, without providing genuine support to help vulnerable young people into employment,” Mr Cummings said.

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