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Tugun welfare recipients say $35 a day is not living

TWEED residents recieving Centrelink payments are disputing Families Minister Jenny Macklin's claim she could live on $35 a day.

A single job seeker's Newstart payments are $246 a week and work out to around $35.00 a day, while students on Youth Allowance are receiving even less at $32.00 a day.

Single Mums and Dads receive $38 a day, but are occasionally given payments such as the School Kids Bonus and Family Tax Benefits.

Many recipients reported paying rent and buying food, and then being left with nearly nothing as car payments, student loans and other bills remained unpaid.

Others were hunting for work, but finding it difficult to travel to interviews and present themselves accordingly with so little money to work with.

Cassie Farrawell from Tugun receives Youth Allowance and is training to be a hairdresser at TAFE.

Ms Farrawell receives around $450 a fortnight and said she struggles to make ends meet, despite cutting out unnecessary luxuries.

"It's extremely difficult, not being able to keep up with bills I used to be able to pay, feeding yourself and paying for courses to help get you further is practically impossible because it's [Youth Allowance] so low," she said.

"I think $35 a day would cover food and rent if you're lucky.

You pretty much have to be living in a house that's falling apart because it's all you can afford."

Tugun resident Chelly Slater was recently employed after struggling on Newstart payments for months as she searched for work.

Ms Slater was adamant the payments were much too low.

"You don't actually 'live' on Centrelink, you merely just exist and struggle to pay everything," she said.

"All the bills you were able to pay in comfort now become almost impossible, and the people you owe money too aren't always the most sympathetic bunch of people."

Ms Slater said government assistance was definitely appreciated, but people were still struggling.

"I just want to clarify that I'm grateful that we do have a government that helps us in our states of unemployment, but they need to realize that to be able to better ourselves to regain employment we need more help."

Topics:  centrelink newstart allowance tugun



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