Bill to boost Newstart

GREENS senator Rachel Siewert says she’ll be submitting a bill to federal parliament in August backing Fremantle council’s call for the Newstart allowance to be increased.

Two weeks ago Freo showed it hadn’t been silenced by the ticking off it got from the Turnbull government over shelving Australia Day celebrations, delving back into federal politics to tell the PM people the dole wasn’t delivering basic standards of living.

“Please consider this letter to be formal acknowledgement that the council of the City of Fremantle recognises that the current rate of Newstart allowance is exacerbating poverty and homelessness,” mayor Brad Pettitt wrote to relevant ministers, and state MPs and senators last week.

• Rachel Siewert speaking at a rally. File photo

The motion was accompanied by a 385-signature petition calling for the council to advocate on behalf of the city’s downtrodden.

“There has not been a significant increase to Newstart in over 20 years, despite the cost of living continuing to rise,” the petition read. Recent research showed that Newstart and Commonwealth rent assistance are $96 short of meeting a basic standard of living for a single person.”

Senator Siewert praised Fremantle for its bold gesture.

by STEVE GRANT

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