****Community Forum: Should Councils Stick Up For The Unemployed?****

QUESTION: Do you think Councils should be about more than "roads, rates, and rubbish"? Do you think Councils should be fearless, independent advocates for their community, and willing to speak about any issue that affects their residents, and which their residents care about?

Poverty and unemployment are local issues. Local government can, and must, speak out.

10 SA Councils have already decided to support a raise to Newstart. But there are plenty more Councils to lobby and get onside.

Come along and get involved in our exciting new campaign.
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Do you think Councils should advocate for their community, for their residents, even on issues outside their direct control?

We do, and that is why we have been lobbying Councils across SA to do something that, until recently, has not happened anywhere in the country: publicly support a raise to Newstart.

So far, 10 Councils have called for an increase to Newstart: Adelaide, Clare Valley, Copper Coast, Kangaroo Island, Mount Gambier, Onkaparinga, Playford, Port Adelaide Enfield, Salisbury, and Streaky Bay.

Next Monday, we are hoping that Charles Sturt will become the 11th Council to stand up for its unemployed residents.

If you live in the area, please consider writing to your Councillors, and please consider attending next Monday's Council meeting.
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Charles Sturt, Stick Up For The Unemployed

November 27, 2017, 6:30pm - November 27, 2017, 8:30pm

9 SA Councils, representing 560K people - Salisbury, Port Adelaide Enfield, Playford, Onkaparinga, Streaky Bay, Kangaroo Island, Mount Gambier, Copper Coast, and Clare Valley - have decided to support an increase to Newstart. We want Charles Sturt to join this list, and stick up for its residents who are out of work and living in poverty. The arguments for lifting Newstart are very strong: - Good for the health and wellbeing of job-seekers (and for their ability to job-search) - Good for the local community - Good for the local economy - Good for reducing the strain on Council community programs and services that support low-income and marginalised people (like the unemployed) Local Governments have a duty to advocate on behalf of their residents, regardless of whether that issue is within their jurisdiction. $269 per week - the rate of Newstart - is NOT a liveable income. WE NEED YOU TO: 1) Write to your Charles Sturt Mayor and Councillors (if you live in the area): (If you are not sure what to write, here are some suggestions: 2) Attend the Council meeting to support Tammy and Pas, who will be speaking to Council, and to support the motion, calling on Council to endorse an increase to Newstart, that will be debated. INFO: E: P: 0411 587 663.

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If you live in the northern suburbs, it would be great to see you at this. :-)

A chance to meet people challenging the government's treatment of welfare recipients, and hear from speakers who can tell you about how to stand up to job agencies, and what is happening to the Disability Support Pension.

Good conversation, good food, and let's hope for good weather!! :-)
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Community Picnic: The War On The Poor

November 25, 2017, 12:30pm - November 25, 2017, 3:30pm

It has never been easy being out of work and living in poverty – but government policies are making life harder and more stressful for welfare recipients. Instead of supporting those doing it tough, government policies blame and punish the victims of poverty and unemployment (and get the victims to blame themselves). But it is NOT our fault that there is only 1 job for every 11 job-seekers. And it is NOT our fault that Centrelink payments are too low. These are the fault of governments – and we are sick of welfare recipients getting the blame, instead of unjust, unhelpful policies. Join us to learn about your rights, the attacks on welfare recipients, and what we can do about them. All welcome. Featuring speakers about Newstart, Job Agencies, Disability Pension, and more. INFO: or 0477 885 032.

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Yep, we have posted this before, but it is worth repeating that spending on unemployment payments is extremely low, and is not unsustainable.

Can we afford to raise Newstart by $50 per week (which would mean Newstart would still be $100 below the poverty-line, and that is the lowest of the poverty-lines)? Yes. By $100 per week? Yes?

What about raising Newstart and all other payments to the poverty-line? If we are willing to end the absurd, unjustified generosity meted out to the big end of town (i.e., one-third of corporations paying no tax, fossil fuels subsidies, super concessions for rich people, negative gearing, public funding for private schools), then the answer, again, is yes.
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Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose...

We wanted to let everyone know that yesterday, the Local Government Association of South Australia - which represents all 68 Councils in this state - decided they will not advocate for a raise to Newstart.

It is unfortunate news, but a temporary set-back, rather than a permanent defeat.

Our Newstart and Councils campaign is just a few months old. And while we have been able to get 10 individual Councils onside - 10 individual Councils standing up for their unemployed residents - there are still plenty of Councils not willing to support an increase to Newstart.

Oh well, we keep fighting.
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It takes nothing to support a raise to Newstart, nothing but a bit of courage and leadership.

"I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Newstart has not been raised in real terms in 23 years, and unlike the pension, is not indexed to average wages.

As a recipient of Newstart, this means my standard of living is well below the poverty line, and I often struggle to eat healthy food and pay for bills and health care, let alone to have a decent lifestyle and do things that I enjoy.

A raise to Newstart would mean young people like myself would have a foot to stand on while we try to find work, instead of struggling day to day to make ends meet. I would definitely be in better health if Newstart was raised.

A raise to Newstart of $50 per week would be achievable if funding to job network services was cut. My job network has done nothing for me, and I would be much better off with an extra $50 than having to waste my time attending demeaning appointments and pointless activities like work for the dole and resume writing workshops. I have an Honours degree and do not need this kind of assistance.

Job Networks are a punitive measure that only further entrenches people in poverty and makes them more depressed than they would otherwise be living on a very low income. It is a patronising approach that removes the sense of control and agency from job seekers lives. This is why I believe their funding should be axed and Newstart should be raised.

As a member of your ward, I hope that you will bring this up at your next council meeting.


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