News

Welfare increase needed: Bock

By Cobram Courier

Independent candidate for Nicholls Andrew Bock has advocated for an increase in welfare payments ahead of this weekend’s election.

‘‘It’s hard enough for an aged or disability support pensioner to make ends meet in the private rental market, let alone someone on Newstart,’’ he said.

Mr Bock said an increase to welfare payments would not just help recipients, but would also boost the economy.

‘‘Unlike higher income earners, pensioners spend every cent they receive as there’s no point trying to save for big-ticket items,’’ he said.

‘‘This means that any rise in payments will stimulate the economy, secure retail and hospitality jobs and hopefully put downward pressure on youth unemployment.’’

Mr Bock detailed what a week of expenditure would look like for someone receiving welfare payments.

‘‘The cheapest single-bedroom house for rent in our region right now (listed) on realestate.com.au is $160 per week,’’ he said.

‘‘Add $100 for food, $50 per week for bills, $50 for transport and $20 to put towards Christmas or birthdays and that leaves an aged or disability support pensioner with around $40 for medications, emergencies or entertainment. It’s simply not enough.

‘‘If we look at Newstart, you’ve got $84 left after paying rent.

‘‘How you’re supposed to pay for internet to keep looking for jobs, eat, buy a new shirt for a job interview or even get to the job interview, I really don’t know.’’

Mr Bock likened staying on the Newstart allowance to that of a full-time job.

‘‘There are still some in our community who look down on so-called dole bludgers,’’ he said.

‘‘With all the hoops they have to jump through, staying on Newstart is a full-time job.’’