Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton reported that on February 14 Moreland City Council in Victoria passed her motion calling for an increase in the Newstart allowance. This follows similar decisions by 10 South Australian local councils prompted by campaigners from the Anti-Poverty Network.
The motion called for Newstart to be increased to the Henderson poverty line. Newstart is currently $177 below the poverty line.
"The bipartisan Coalition and Labor policy of freezing Newstart for more than 20 years and the constant public attacks on unemployed workers has put unemployed people into penury", Bolton told Green Left Weekly.
"The policy of keeping people on Newstart in dire poverty is designed to drive people off Centrelink benefits and into jobs that undercut wages and conditions."