Wednesday, 29 June 2022

    Payments suspended

    A Newstart recipient in her 50s had her payments suspended by her employment services provider after she appeared at a Senate inquiry to argue for an increase to the payment, The Guardian reports.

    At a hearing in Sydney on Friday, life on Australia’s unemployment benefit was described as “a state of fear”, “constant worry” and “stress and despair” by recipients.

    Government senators were forced to confront the experiences of Newstart recipients, who told how they skipped meals, experienced homelessness and were unable to afford clothes and Christmas presents for their children due to the low rate of the payment.

    “We do not want your pity but we do need your empathy,” said Nigel, who felt he was being punished for not having a job.

    Leslie, who is in her 50s and has been on Newstart for 10 years, said she was breaching her mutual obligations by appearing before the inquiry. Leslie told her employment consultant about the hearing; she said they scheduled an appointment anyway, saying it was a requirement of her jobs plan.

    About an hour after she finished giving evidence, Leslie told Guardian Australia she got a text. “Your payment has been suspended for not attending your provider appointment,” it read.

    Leslie had been paid for the fortnight on Friday morning. But she will now have to ask her job agency to have her income support switched back on, a process welfare recipients say is not always easy.

    “Why am I being punished for doing things that help my community?” she said.


    Newstart recipient has payments suspended after appearing at Senate inquiry (The Guardian)


    Catch-22 madness: Mark Mordue’s experience of Newstart (Canberra Times)