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ESIS 2018: It's time to kick start Newstart

23 May 2018

Illustration clients surveyed and a Salvo officer

Salvos Research Finds Aussies in Deepening Daily Struggle

The Salvation Army is urging the Federal Government to reconsider its decision not to increase the Newstart allowance after research has revealed the devastating hardship many Australians are facing.

The 2018 Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS), a survey of 1,267 people who call on Salvation Army services, has found the average Newstart recipient is living on just $17.00 a day after accommodation expenses*.

The survey, released to coincide with the Salvos Red Shield Appeal, included stories of people fighting to survive on a Newstart allowance, which has failed to rise with inflation for 24 years.

The Salvation Army’s Major Paul Moulds says the research confirms the Federal budget failed Australians doing it tough.

“It is simply inhumane that corporations and wealthy households are handed a tax cut, while the most disadvantaged and marginalised people in this country continue to be ignored,” Major Moulds said.

“It is widely acknowledged it will take a minimum increase of $75 a week just to ensure people can live on the poverty line – let alone above it.”

The survey also revealed:

  • 81% of respondents who are privately renting or paying a mortgage are living under extreme housing stress, paying more than half of their income towards housing. Households with children are worse off with more than 90% under extreme housing stress.
  • More than two out of five households with children are experiencing food insecurity, and are unable to afford either three meals a day, fresh fruit/vegetables every day, or at least one meal a day with meat, chicken or vegetables equivalent.
  • 49% of respondents moved house in the past 12 months, with 25% moving due to family violence and 18% moving due to community safety reasons.
  • More than half of respondents say their financial situation has become worse over the past 12 months.
  • 28% of job seekers say the high cost of transport and/or lack of availability is one of the main barriers for finding employment.

The Salvation Army says the inaction of the Federal Government will put further pressure on the charity to help families make ends meet. It’s calling on the Australian public to give generously to its upcoming Red Shield Appeal, saying the need is now greater than ever.

“With increases in the cost of living, we see people going without medication, skipping meals and adequate winter heating because they are caught in the cycle of poverty”.

“We encourage those who are able to donate or volunteer for this year’s appeal because no one should have to go it alone. The Salvos can only meet the great need within our community because, year after year, Australians come together to stand by those doing it tough.”

The Salvation Army national effort in a typical week:

  • More than over 17,000 beds for those suffering homelessness
  • 40,000 meals for the hungry
  • Over 1400 financial counselling sessions
  • Refuge for over 100 women affected by domestic violence

To volunteer for the Red Shield Appeal Doorknock register online or donate here.

Download the key findings report.

Download the full report.

* Accommodation expenses refers to all housing costs paid, such as mortgage, private rent, public housing, or board. The remaining $17 per day needs to cover all other living expenses like food, bills, transport, health, etc.

The Salvation Army Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet and work and pay our respect to Elders past, present and future.

We value and include people of all cultures, languages, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and intersex status. We are committed to providing programs that are fully inclusive. We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of people of all ages, particularly children.

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The Salvation Army is an international movement. Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name with love and without discrimination.

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