Australia

No Labor review of Newstart in opposition

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers indicated Labor is unlikely to begin a Newstart review in opposition. (AAP)

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers doubts Labor would have much luck seeking a rise in welfare payments for job-seekers while in opposition.

Australians should heap pressure on the federal government and not Labor if they want a review of how much welfare job-seekers receive, according to shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers.

Labor had vowed to review the Newstart payment if it won the May 18 election - with the intention of lifting it - after long-standing calls from welfare groups.

Newstart for a single person without children is $555.70 a fortnight, having increased by $5.50 in March.

Asked whether Labor will push on with its own review from opposition - potentially putting forward a private member's bill on the issue - Dr Chalmers said he doubted such a move would be effective.

"We have to accept the reality that we are three years from another election," he told the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday.

"I don't think a review at the start of that from the opposition would necessarily shift the needle on Newstart.

"If people want to see a boost to Newstart, then they have to convince the government."

Being unable to carry out such plans is part of the heartbreak of losing an election, Dr Chalmers noted.

"One of the things that does get you down is that we aren't able to implement some of those policies and plans that we think would have made a real difference, particularly to vulnerable people in Australia."

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch