Newstart & Youth Allowance rates
Having left full time employment 4 yrs ago to take on a carer role for my seriously ill husband, I now find myself on Newstart having separated from my husband 8 mths ago and seeking part time employment. I have extensive office administration experience in accounts payable, receivable, payroll, human resources having been employed in local government for the previous 5 years and the private sector locally (both in a NSW regional town) for the previous 10 years and decades of experience in Sydney prior to that.
I am using at least $70 per week of my superannuation, to which I had access when I left work to be a carer, to allow me to keep a roof over my head, pay rent on the land my home is on, run a car and computer and internet to seek work along with other daily essential expenses such as food, power, water, insurance etc.
The low rate of Newstart even with the energy supplement, rent assistance and other allowances is so low that it is preventing recipients from being able to get employment and find a meaningful job. Even if it was raised $75.00 per week, as is being campaigned for at the moment, it would still be only half the minimum wage!
I have another 5 years before I am eligible for the age pension and I genuinely want to work but between 65 and 190 people (some of whom are already employed elsewhere) are applying for every position! Only 3 to 5 are being interviewed. After many months on this roller coaster, it is taking a toll. It is very demoralising to be constantly rejected and keep putting yourself out there, spending hours on each application, often to not even hear back. I have had around 6 interviews, all of which have gone very well but either I came a close second, they placed someone internal in the position who wanted a change of role, they placed no one in the role and have decided to look for a specialist in one area of the position by re advertising or I was offered and accepted the position only to be informed two days later that it had been given to another candidate through another agency! Considerable time is also spent scouring the internet and emails received from searches I have set up for any positions available and in chasing up applications as employers generally only notify candidates who are short listed for an interview.
Even when you are a glass half full kinda person, as I am, this is all extremely disappointing to say the least. It has an impact on your mental health, particularly for those, like myself and I am certain many others, who are already in a difficult situation before trying to find employment! I also have my Mum in a care centre with Alzheimers. There are other family concerns weighing on my mind in addition to all the above.
To have the additional pressure of how am I going to live in retirement when I finally get there when I have to use my superannuation to survive now is just another load to carry and one that grows daily as I see the nest egg that I have been building for so much of my working life, disappearing before my eyes.
Like everyone else, I have paid taxes all my life and until now I have never needed any support from the Government. Now that I do, I find the rate has shrunk in real terms to a level that makes it impossible to pay any rent anywhere in Australia, let alone eat, run a car, computer etc. to have any hope of getting off Newstart. The average person my age on Newstart, is there for 3 years!