Select Committee on Poverty

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (16:37): I move:

That the interim report of the select committee be noted.

I will briefly reflect upon this first interim report of the select committee inquiry into poverty that this Legislative Council has established, and I wish to thank the other members of the committee: the Hon. Justin Hanson, the Hon. Frank Pangallo, the Hon. Irene Pnevmatikos and the Hon. Terry Stephens.

This committee, in its short time, has identified that the most pressing issue when it comes to addressing poverty in this country is raising the rate of Newstart. All members of the committee—Labor, Liberal, SA-Best and Greens—have called for a meaningful raise to Newstart and other base allowances as the way to address that most pressing issue.

I will not reflect too much more on this report today; I simply wanted to make sure it was tabled, and I look forward to other members making their contributions. It is extraordinary that not only Labor, Liberal, SA-Best and Greens can agree on an issue, but of course former prime minister John Howard, former leader of the Liberal Party John Hewson, Deloitte Access Economics, SACOSS—so many groups—have identified that we must raise the rate of Newstart. I urge federal parties to consider that and, as we head towards a federal election, to make that most profound change.

Other measures that the committee has urgently identified in the report include streamlining our transport concessions and addressing those who are least equipped to pay in terms of fines or are the hardest hit in terms of demerit points and have less punitive measures available to them. We are needlessly plunging people into poverty in this country. It is bad for our economy and, of course, it is bad for our society. With those few words, I seek leave to conclude my comments.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

Stay Connected

Sign Up to news and updates from Tammy.