Media release: Raise the Rate Week of Action, 15-21 July 2019

9 July 2019

There are currently over 10,000 people in the ACT living on Newstart, Youth Allowance, and other related payments. ACTCOSS is calling on everyone in the ACT to stand up for people living on these completely inadequate allowances by taking part in the national Week of Action to Raise the Rate from 15-21 July.

ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) Executive Director, Ms Susan Helyar said, “Currently, these payments are too low to help people get through tough times and into suitable employment. The rate of Newstart has not been increased for 25 years, while the cost of living, especially housing, has gone through the roof and new costs have emerged for job seekers – such as mobile phone and data plans. Our Cost of Living analysis from the past 5 years in the ACT has shown that the basic costs of living have risen more than the CPI so people are falling further behind every year.

“The federal government should act immediately to lift the single rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and other related payments by at least $75 per week and index these payments to wages, not CPI.

“There is broad support for the Raise the Rate campaign from not only those groups who provide vital community services to people in difficult circumstances, but also unions, business groups, local governments, territory governments and a number of federal parliamentarians. An Essential Research poll earlier this year found that more than 70% of people agree the rate of Newstart should be increased.

“During the national Raise the Rate Week of Action we are encouraging all Canberrans to contact their federal MP and our two ACT senators to tell them that Newstart desperately needs a raise, not only to help people keep a roof over their head and put food on the table, but as an economic stimulus because we know these households will spend the increase in the local economy.

“People can also pledge to meet their MP or senators via the Raise the Rate website. People across the country will be meeting with politicians – you might not be able to get a meeting during our Week of Action, but any time you can sit down with your local representative to discuss raising the rate is a valuable contribution to this campaign.

“We understand that it can be daunting to engage with politicians, so ACTCOSS has resources and support available to assist people to do this. During the Week of Action, we also encourage people to use the #RaiseTheRate hashtag on social media to engage with their MPs and senators and show their support for the Raise the Rate campaign.”

For more information or comment please contact

Susan Helyar, Executive Director, ACTCOSS, on 0448 791 987 or 02 6202 7200.

Raise the Rate Week of Action Resources

Lobbying guide:

Pledge to meet your MP:

Share your story:

Campaign resources:

If you’d like support to meet with an MP or senator, call ACTCOSS on 02 6202 7200.

ACT MPs’ and Senators’ Contact Details

Member for Bean

Mr David Smith MP

Telephone: 02 6293 1344

Email: [email protected]

Member for Canberra

Ms Alicia Payne MP

Telephone: 02 6277 4168

Email: [email protected]

Member for Fenner

Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

Telephone: 02 6247 4396

Email: [email protected]

Senator for the ACT

Senator Katy Gallagher

Telephone: 02 6230 0411

Email: [email protected]

Senator for the ACT

Senator the Hon Zed Seselja

Telephone: 02 6247 6444

Email: [email protected]

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