Let’s Talk: How will the planned benefit cuts by the PM affect you? 24



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The number of older Australians receiving benefits from the government is rising rapidly, raising fresh concerns about the Turnbull government’s plan to cut unemployment benefits.

New figures from the Department of Social Services show there are now 241,000 people in their 50s and 60s collecting Newstart – up by more than 40,000 in just two years and more than 100,000 since 2012.

That means 31.5 per cent of the 768,000 Australians on Newstart are aged over 50, when long-term unemployment is much more common due to changes to traditional industries and the barriers to retraining.

The number is also going up proportionally, from 25 per cent of over-50s in 2012 when the overall figure was 138,000.

The growth rate is dramatically higher than the growth in the number of over-50s in the general population.

The ballooning numbers raise new concerns about Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s bid to axe a supplement – introduced by Labor – for anyone who applies for Newstart after September 20.

The supplement was introduced by Labor to compensate households that paid no tax for the impact of the carbon price.

The government argues with the carbon price gone the compensation should be cut too, however the middle class tax cuts associated with the tax are not being touched.

Critics say cutting the clean energy supplement will create a two-tiered system in which the newly unemployed will be paid a record low of 32 per cent below the poverty line. The $1.4 billion cut was announced in this year’s budget going against the advice even of business groups.

The base Newstart rate for singles is $263.80 – a paltry $37.70 a day. The supplement adds $4.40 a week.

This is in stark comparison to the recent news that the pollies have been spending taxpayers dollars shamelessly, including the Prime Minister, who spent almost $200,000 entertaining guests in his first six months in office, hosting 16 functions.

Ian Yates from the Council of the Ageing, or COTA, strongly opposes the cuts because “Newstart is so appallingly low anyway. When you live well below the poverty line on Newstart then $4 per week is a lot of money. It means one less meal,” he told Fairfax Media.

He says over 50s suffer from significant age discrimination so they often find it very difficult to get back into the workforce.

“Many people live on Newstart for years before going on the age pension so of course they have had no capacity to save for retirement, and indeed have usually run down their previous savings because you can’t live on Newstart.”

So let’s talk: Do you think it is fair for the MPs to be proposing cuts on something that is already quite low while they recklessly spend monies, or do you think there is another possible fix for this disparity?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I’m already struggling to pay bills and eat at the same time. I moved into public housing after using all my super just to survive, after the collapse of mining in which I was gainfully employed until 2012. I’m fit and healthy and want to work, but at 61 there’s not much hope of finding employment, except for some part time work at census and election time.I keep trying though!

  2. Yes its disgraceful. If they just cut a couple of the pollies perks, current and especially previous pollies, it could give extra money for Newstart, Aged pension etc. Then people on benefits could live a life above the poverty line!


    1 REPLY
  4. like you, too I had to be retrenched along with 60 others at age 58 and couldn’t get pension until 65… I had to use what super I had which wasn’t a huge amount just to top up my $500 fortnight that included a rent allowance and pay all my own bills etc… that amount should only be for singles living at home with mum and dad, no one can survive by themselves and maintain a home and pay rent etc on that money….. I had many health problems but chose not to go on a disability, because I still wanted to work.. I did 9 month courses in different areas of work etc.. x 2 but got no work from that and all the hard work, Did 4 yrs volunteering in which I had to pay my own fares there and back, and work hard too… its just out of control all the people who are coming into our country and getting the same benefits and more than those who have paid taxes all their lives. How can we keep doing this and its a cruel thing to have to try to make them understand these people in POWER just how hard it is… I think they are just selling us off down the river, filling their own pockets with Ludacris rises in their own pensions (huge in fact) then making us feel like second class citizens… In South Aust we have the worst unemployment and growth, its worse every day, day by day.. places closing down and loads losing jobs…. I wish to you luck and yes, keep trying… but I do know how you feel. Oh and I even missed out on the government $960 supplement payment a few years back that everyone got, because it was the first year in 40 yrs I hadn’t put a tax return in due to unemployment…….. hows that, when people who came here and worked for a short while, and went back to their countries were posted their cheques……….thanks for that… NOT

  5. I know Malcolm Turnbull needs to hang his head in shame. The government wastes so many millions of money on themselves and the retired politicians. The rich pay negligible tax when THEY can afford to pay same tax as Aussie workers. Tax the churches who run them as a business. The mining companies pay next to no tax. Why do the rich get away with that, and the government WANT pensioners and the poor to fight to live, fight to eat, fight to pay for life saving medications, fight to keep warm. These pensioners are the ones who helped Australia grow. These pensioners didn’t get paid maternity leave. All they got was child endowment, compared to what parents get now a days, it was a pittance. But we survived and gave the children a good life. Australia has turned into a greedy country. The more the government pay out the more they want. BUT what I can’t get over is Malcolm wanting to kill off the poor while giving his government pay rises, carte blanche to spend spend spend as if the coffers are full. we didn’t vote the mp’s in to spend spend. We voted them in to help us, Australians. Australian farmers, industry (that they have killed off). No once they get to Canberra they forget how they got there. Malcolm kicked out an elected Prime Minister supposedly because he could do better. Well he has done 100% worse. He has shamed himself and the Liberals have shamed Australia. I am an aged pensioner trying to survive on the pension. It is getting so bloody hard. Everything is going up except our pension. While the FAT CATS in Canberra line their pockets to the detriment of the poor Australians. Then they want to bring in more immigrants. They will be on unemployment benefits, government housing, medicare. While Aussies lose out again. Why. Our Government has lost its way and greed has taken over.

  6. Who would be asking for a pension or payment unless they were desperate to particularly after being able to look after your self.

  7. This government is an absolute disgrace….How do they think that reducing the benefits paid to the ageing unemployed and possibly next (heaven forbid ) the aged pensions …is fair …..when they keep on getting payrises , perks and pay out to previous parliamentarians a handout , when they go on to other lucrative employment …and…not to mention the overseas trips for them AND their wives /families …..overseas aid is a good idea …but …ONLY IF WE CAN AFFORD IT …which we really can’t…..one can only wonder if they are on the same planet as the rest of us !!!!!!!!

  8. So I been working and paying tax since I was 14 years old, my partner since he was 12 years old. We worked hard brought land built a house raised our children went through our bad times and always paying our own way. Now he is 65 and were expected to sell what we own to survive, I have a rare disease neither of us are physically able to work but the government are screwing us to the point we will have to sell what we own. It doesn’t make sense I get more money if I own nothing but rent. So what can you so what do young families do now why both trying to own your own home because if u get sick or retire your only going to have to sell it. Our superannuation swerve less than $30,000 as as a farmer a farm doesn’t pay super and most of our paid work was casual and did not pay super for most of our working life which these pollies forget.

  9. They don’t realise that when you are struggling to pay bills it takes its toll on everyone in the house in negative physiological effects. It’s bloody hard to stay positive when you don’t know if you are going to get through the next fortnight because all the services bills came in at once and your trying to get a job but that’s not easy when more are getting laid off than being put on. And then they want cut our fund !!! What next

  10. Instead of making life more difficult for those already struggling, why doesn’t the government cut politians huge expenditure in travel, entertaining, etc, not to mention the huge pensions they receive. Also, go after the. Companies who avoid tax, and the welfare reciepants who have four wives and hoards of kids, all on welfare! So many areas should be looked at score insisting the truly needy! Does the prime minister have no compassion for people in this situation, it is not always of their making, perhaps he has a heart, after all he gave $5 to a homeless man, that would have hurt him no doubt. Words cannot express my disgust at the injustice of so many rorting the system , getting away with it, and expecting truly needy people to pay for it!

  11. If Australia is that bad then stop more refugees getting in the country ,and put more pressure on our people

    1 REPLY
    • It,s absolutely disgusting, this government leaves a lot to be desired. All us pensioners do is struggle, struggle, struggle, while you politicians live like kings. You haven,t got the guts to step in our shoes for a week. Try not eating properly because you have to pay bills & rent. You,re all a joke. Hope you get toppled next election, karma does go around at some point.

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