Federal Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has weighed in to the Newstart debate, saying she does not believe families can live on the unemployment allowance.
Ms Chesters has contradicted Federal Families Minister Jenny Macklin, who said she could manage to live on the $245-a-week allowance.
Ms Chesters said she had lived on youth allowance when at university but did not believe a family could support themselves on $35 a day.
“I survived but I could not have supported family, certainly not with transport costs,” she said.
Ms Chesters said she thought the allowance must be raised to allow job-hunters to gain employment.
“I believe it’s too low,” she said. “I’ve met with Bendigo-based welfare agencies and what they have said is that families in their area relying on Newstart are struggling,” she said.
“It just simply does not cover essentials.”
Ms Chesters said the allowance was not enough for job-seekers, especially with transport costs.
“It makes it harder for their workers to train for these new jobs,” she said.
“It should support people to find employment – that’s what it should be about.”