Youth peak bodies across Australia join ACOSS and others in calling on the Government to Raise the Rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance.

Young people and others who receive the Newstart allowance are struggling to survive on just $282 a week.[1] This is more than $100 below the poverty line, and is clearly insufficient to live on and cover the costs of looking for work.[2]

Youth Allowance, received by younger people who are studying, completing an apprenticeship or looking for work, is even lower.[3]

The Business Council of Australia has stated the current rate of Newstart is so low that it is acting as a barrier for people seeking work.[4] Young people on Newstart and Youth Allowance are unable to afford food and secure housing, along with suitable clothing, public transport, internet access and a phone, all of which are essential to secure a job in today’s economy. This creates further disadvantage and stress in a job market with only one job available for every eight people seeking work.[5]

Importantly, Newstart cannot be seen as a simple transition support that people receive temporarily during short periods of unemployment. The average Newstart allowance time period is 147 weeks, or nearly three years. Even young people, who receive Newstart for a significantly shorter period of time than any other age group, still receive it for 46 weeks (nearly a year) on average.[6]

Nationally, there are 62,526 young people receiving Newstart and 222,885 receiving Youth Allowance. It is critical that these young people are able to more than just survive, and are not further disadvantaged and stigmatised in their aspirations and efforts to find decent work.

All of the youth peak bodies around Australia, Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, Youth Affairs Council Victoria, Youth Action NSW, Youth Affairs Network of Queensland, Youth Affairs Council of South Austalia, Youth Network of Tasmania and Youth Coalition of the ACT, call on the government to Raise the Rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance.

This will support vulnerable and marginalised young people across Australia to live with security and gain meaningful long-term employment.

Attributable quotes to Katie Acheson, Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, Chair
“While the cost of living has increased astronomically in the last 25 years, Newstart and Youth Allowance have not.”

“It is a disservice to young Australians that Newstart and Youth Allowance have not increased in real terms during their lifetime.”

“Raising the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance is what we pay taxes for, so that we have what we need when we need it, it is why we have schools, we have hospitals, we have roads, and we have social security.”

“It’s time for an increase.”

Attributable quotes to Katherine Ellis, Youth Affairs Council Victoria, CEO

“Newstart and Youth Allowance rates must be increased to genuinely support young people to live with security and take action to find employment.”

“It is extremely difficult for young people to exist solely on Newstart or Youth Allowance, especially for such long periods of time. People receiving Newstart regularly skip meals, restrict their use of gas and electricity, and buy only second-hand clothing.[7]

Signatories of this statement

Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC)
Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic)
Youth Affairs Network Queensland (YANQ)
Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia (YACWA)
Youth Affairs Council of South Australia (YACSA)
Youth Network of Tasmania (YNOT)
Youth Action NSW
Youth Coalition of the ACT

 About the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition

The Australian Youth Affairs Collation (AYAC) is the national voice representing both the 4.5 million young people across Australia and the thousands of organisations that support them to participate fully in Australian society.

AYAC works to ensure an Australia where all young people are actively engaged in their education, their families and communities, are heard by policy makers and proudly participate in a vibrant Australian democracy.

Media contact: Katie Acheson, AYAC Chair,, 0412708964

 About Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic)

Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 and youth workers in Victoria. Our vision is that young Victorians have their rights upheld and are valued as active participants in their communities.

YACVic leads policy responses to issues affecting young people, represents the youth sector to government, resources high quality youth work practice, research and advocate on youth issues. We value our members and prioritise their needs.

Media contact: Katherine Ellis, YACVic CEO, 0432401656
Secondary contact: Luke Rycken, YACVic Policy Manager, 0416881511

[1] Department of Human Services. (2019). Newstart Allowance. Retrieved from

[2] Social Policy Research Centre. (2016). Poverty in Australia (5th ed). Retrieved from

[3] Department of Human Services. (2019). Youth Allowance. Retrieved from

[4] Business Council of Australia. (2012). Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Adequacy of the Allowance Payment System for Jobseekers and Others. Retrieved from

[5] Australian Council of Social Services. (2019). Raise the Rate.

[6] Department of Social Services.

[7] Australian Council of Social Services. (2019). Trying to Get By on Newstart. Retrieved from