In this Bulletin, we examine outcomes for those reliant on Newstart (an income support payment for those seeking work) or related allowances under Australia’s income support regime. Allowances such as Newstart have been targeted in the national #RaiseTheRate campaign because of their very low rate as they have not been maintained in line with changes in Australia’s standard of living and are inadequate in terms of providing for basic needs.
The Bulletin explores the recent history of income support payments in Australia and compares the trajectory of allowances over time against both Australian relative poverty lines and against comparable payments in other countries. We then explore the characteristics and experiences of family members receiving Newstart and related payments targeted by the #RaiseTheRate campaign, in terms of physical and mental health outcomes, hardship or material deprivation outcomes, and employment experiences. Where possible and appropriate, outcomes for people in the study receiving Newstart and related payments are compared with those of the general Australian population.