SCANT SAVINGS: Newstart recipients struggle to save money for unexpected bills.
SCANT SAVINGS: Newstart recipients struggle to save money for unexpected bills. Nicole Zurcas

Newstart Fail: Woman forced to draw on super to pay back mum

WITHDRAWING superannuation each year is the only way a South Grafton woman can pay off money she owes to her mother.

Erin Brady found herself in this situation after moving back to Grafton to care for her dying father and had since relied solely on a carer's allowance and now Newstart.

Ms Brady said after paying her rent she was left with just $200 for bills, fuel and food each fortnight and frequently went into debt when she was forced to pay unexpected medical or automotive bills.

"I had to borrow the money to replace the bushes on my car from my mother who is a single pensioner," she said.

"It's impossible to live on this money so once a year when I can access my super I take it out and pay back money I owe."

Anglicare North Coast CEO Estelle Graham called on the major parties to commit to raising the Newstart rate and prevent the cycle of poverty from worsening.

"There has been a strong drive from groups like ACOSS and Anglicare to increase Newstart because the rate has not kept up with the cost of living," she said.

"It is trapping people in poverty and unemployment which can be difficult to get out of."

Ms Graham explained the low rate meant there was sometimes not enough money for recipients to spend on things like haircuts or better clothes that might add to a job-seekers employability.

"The danger is if the rate is kept low it will continue to be a poverty trap for people which will only get worse."

Only The Greens has committed to raising the rate, though Labor has recognised the rate is too low and if elected would conduct a "root and branch review" of Newstart payments.

Page Labor candidate Patrick Deegan said Newstart was "terribly inadequate" and the review would ensure it was enough for people to live on.

"No one can live on $40 a day. People need money to buy clothes and afford transport to get a job." he said.

Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan said the rate was indexed to CPI and went up twice a year, adding that figures showed "99 per cent of Newstart recipients also receive other payments".

Who will you vote for in Page at the 2019 Federal election?

This poll ended on 17 May 2019.

Current Results

FIONA LEVINY - Independent


ALISON WATERS - Animal Justice Party


PETER WALKER - Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)


JOHN MUDGE - United Australia Party




KEVIN HOGAN - Nationals






This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.