ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Raise the Rate - Newstart & Youth Allowance

Get involved in the campaign to raise Newstart and Youth Allowance

Sign on to the national campaign

What is it?

Australia’s social safety net is something most of us contribute to, and most of us benefit from, at different times in our lives. Our safety net should allow people to afford a roof over their head and food on the table.

Newstart has not increased in 24 years (in real terms). The single rate of Newstart is just $278 per week, which is $175 per week below the pension. 647,000 people receive the single rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance (Other). More than half (55%) of the people on Newstart Allowance live below the poverty line.

The current rates of Newstart and Youth Allowance do not cover the cost of basic essentials. They are locking people into poverty.  People can’t put a meal on the table at night.  They can’t pay bills or gas or electricity or rent.

But it doesn’t have to be like this

ACTCOSS is supporting a campaign by ACOSS to raise to rate of Newstart between now and the next Federal election.

The Australian Government can choose to immediately alleviate poverty and help people to afford the very basics of everyday life by taking three steps:

  1. Government commits to raising the rate of the single unemployment and student payments, and indexes them to wage and price movements.
  2. Government establishes an independent statutory Social Security Commission to advise on the financial needs of people requiring social security payments to afford basic goods and services.
  3. Government improves employment services so that people locked out of the labour market (especially people who are unemployed long term) receive the help they need to get paid work.

Get involved!

Do you support raising the rate? Are you on Newstart or Youth Allowance and sick of living in poverty? Are you a Canberra service who works with people on Newstart or Youth Allowance and wants to see change? Do you want to take action and be part of the local effort to get change happening?

Sign on

You can sign on to the national campaign here.

Campaign with us

We are keen to hear from ACTCOSS members who want to be involved or are happy to talk about what raising the rate might mean for the people you work with.

We also want to hear directly from people trying to survive on Newstart or Youth Allowance who might be happy to talk about what changing the rate might mean for you. 

Contact us at [email protected] or on 02 6202 7200.


Request for lived experience spokespeople: Possible Parliamentary Briefings in latter part of 2019

We are looking for recipients of Newstart or Youth Allowance who might be available to meet with MPs and Senators later in the year when the new Parliament convenes and be involved in other lived experience voice work on these issues. Lived experience spokespeople don't need to be experts in the policy issues but do need to be able to talk about current or recent experiences on allowances. They wouldn’t necessarily be asked to speak publicly or be identified, however, we would welcome hearing from people who are comfortable doing so. People involved will be reimbursed for their time and supported to participate by ACOSS. 

If you can help or would like more information, please contact us via [email protected] or on 02 6202 7208.