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Would You Ask Your Grandmother To Live On $35 A Day?

23 Aug 2012

Ponder this question: would you ask your grandmother to live on $35 a day? And would you think you could live on $35 a day? The obvious answer is no. But, believe it or not, that’s what the country is asking from seniors living on the Newstart program.

COTA, the national organisation representing the rights, needs and interests of older Australians, has an alarming alert out that should make us all sit up and take notice. In COTA’s submission to the Senate, Chief Executive, Ian Yates, warns more older Australians will be sinking into poverty:

The Newstart payments of just $35 a day is the same as 20 years ago. In 2012, this is not enough to survive. Most people over 50 who are on an income support payment are on Newstart, and they make up more than 25% of all people on Newstart. The chance of staying on Newstart allowance for longer periods also increases with age, with 28% of the long-term unemployed aged over 55.  As such, the low allowance unfairly discriminates against older Australians who find themselves unemployed later in life – often due to age discrimination.

It is often said that the measure of a decent society is how it treats and cares for its children and its elderly. The test is before us.