More than 700,000 Australians are struggling to survive on $40 dollars a day while $200 billion is being set aside over the next 10 years for Australia’s military, largely to support US wars, according to the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN).
IPAN spokesperson Shirley Winton said: “In the past five years, government spending on social and community services has been severely cut back while the Australian governments’ military spending on supporting US offensive wars and the military-industrial complex has increased exponentially.
“Over 700,000 Australians depend on Newstart unemployment benefits for their existence, struggling to survive on $277.85 a week or $40 a day, which is below the poverty line.
“Many are homeless, going without food and unable to pay for basic necessities like gas, electricity, education and health”.
IPAN is calling on the Coalition government and all parliamentary parties to substantially raise the Newstart Allowance.
Winton said: “It is a disgrace that in a wealthy country like Australia, government benefits for unemployed people is the lowest of all OECD economies, while billions of dollars in taxes that people pay for a society to provide social and community services, health, education and public housing are being syphoned off to prepare for US wars of aggression and to subsidise the military-industrial complex.”
The Australian government recently awarded $73 billion in tax free contracts to multinational weapons manufacturers.
Winton continued: “Australia’s 10 year defence budget of $200 billion will largely support US global wars and its military strategies that have little to do with the sovereign self-defence of Australia.
“On the contrary, the Australian government’s support for US wars and interoperability with the US military only threatens our peace, security and sovereignty.
“The US-Australia military alliance is an economic and military burden on people of Australia.”
[IPAN is holding its national conference August 2-4 in Darwin. For more information visit ipan.org.au.]