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Woman forced to go without toilet paper on welfare payments
Yahoo News Australia Australian Associated Press,Yahoo News Australia•30 October 2019
A Newstart recipient in Adelaide has told senators she rations her insulin and goes without toilet paper and sanitary items.
A parliamentary inquiry is examining the adequacy of the $40-a-day Newstart payment, with pressure on the government to increase it by $75 per week.
Rita, 54, told the committee on Wednesday she had no hope left as she continues to look for work.
"Every day I cry and every day I think about suicide," Rita said.
"You've thrown us all in a hole, told us to climb out and taken away the ropes."
The Morrison government has rejected calls to raise the payment, with a multi-agency submission to the inquiry saying the government's focus was on strengthening the national budget.
A stock image of a Centrelink office. A parliamentary inquiry is examining the adequacy of the $40-a-day Newstart payment.
A Newstart recipient told a parliamentary inquiry she had to ration her insulin due to the low payments. Source: File/Getty Images
Rita said she wanted to study to be a carer but had been hamstrung by education and transport costs.
"I rely on Anglicare, the Salvation Army, my friends, my children to feed me," she said.
The committee also heard from some South Australian mayors and the state's youth commissioner, with the mayors calling for a raise in welfare payments.
The mayors detailed some of the actions their councils were taking – such as housing options – to help their ratepayers in Adelaide's north.
It drew the ire of Liberal senator Hollie Hughes who said the councils were acting outside their remit.
City of Playford mayor Glenn Docherty told the committee both state and federal governments were "asleep at the wheel" when it came to helping poor citizens.
"I think it's pretty clear with all due respect that the Commonwealth government hasn't got a good system in place," City of Port Adelaide Enfield mayor Claire Boan said.
A Newstart recipient says she often can't afford toilet paper on $40 a day. A stock image of an empty toilet paper roll.
She also said she went without toilet paper and sanitary items on the $40-a-day Newstart payment. Source: Getty Images, file
The state's youth commissioner Helen Connolly said the children she had spoken to saw poverty as a structural issue.
"They want a government that is kind, a government that is inclusive and a government that includes them," Ms Connolly said.
The committee also heard from Tracey, a Newstart recipient in her 50s who said she was struggling to find work because of her age.
Tracey said she couldn't afford a new computer to apply for a jobs, or afford to replace her failing car to get her to work.
"So it's not only the impact that poverty has on my job search, it's the embarrassment that I have to go through – going in and explaining to someone I can't afford to buy a new computer because I don't have the money," Tracey said.
Like the spoilt child she is, she will not be happy till she destroys herself from within and breaks your heart.
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