Mehrtens welcomes call for Newstart increase
Cr Richard Mehrtens has welcomed a decision by Central Coast Council to make a submission the Federal Government for an increase in the Newstart Allowance.
Cr Mehrtens told the Peninsula News the last census showed that there were 1200 unemployed people on the Peninsula, most of whom would be getting by on only $300 a week.
"People who live on the Peninsula shop on the Peninsula," he said.
"If you give 1200 people a pay rise then that money goes straight into the shops on Blackwall Rd, or in Deepwater Plaza, and helps support local small business owners who are also doing it tough,'' he said.
"What the federal government needs to realise is that by increasing the rate of Newstart, you are directly injecting that money into local economies.''
Cr Mehrtens said no one deserved to be treated as poorly as successive Federal Governments had treated people on Newstart.
"To expect a single-parent family to live on $300 means that you are condemning children to living in poverty and that is disgraceful,'' he said.
"A payment of $300 a week doesn't even pay for rent on the Peninsula, let alone food, bills, clothing, or school costs.''
The motion to make a submission to the Federal Government was raised by Cr Jillian Hogan.
She said more than 30 council had made formal submissions to the Federal Government calling it to "Raise the Rate" and the Australian Local Government Association had added its voice.
The association motion had said that the burden was placed on local government areas to respond to the needs and challenges of people living in poverty and homelessness.
It called upon the Federal Government to raise the allowances to the level of the Henderson Poverty Line to increase the wellbeing and life chances of many in the community.
The March quarter 2019 poverty line, inclusive of housing costs, was $994.68 for a family of two adults, one of whom was working, with two dependent children.
Cr Hogan's motion called on council's submission to the Federal Government to include the rationale from a statistical, economic and social perspective relevant to the Central Coast region.
Central Coast Council agenda 7.2, 12 Aug, 2019
Media statement, 15 Aug, 2019
Richard Mehrtens, Central Coast Council