COULD you live on $35 a day?
Comments from Families Minister Jenny Macklin saying she could indeed survive on the bare-bones Newstart Allowance (NSA) of $246 a week have outraged people from welfare groups to fellow politicians.
Bundaberg Salvation Army legal and community services officer Pam Cooper said the minister would not know the first thing about living on the dole, considering the Newstart allowance was less than 4% of her weekly wages.
"A single person in Bundaberg on Newstart and rent assistance would still be paying a net rent of $150," she said.
"That would leave around $95 for fuel and bills."
Mrs Cooper said for the many people she met on the allowance even food was a luxury.
"That is why food assistance is so highly sought with us," she said.
She said people had to take into consideration the emergency costs that come up in our daily lives like the need for medication.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said the comment showed once again how 'out of touch' the federal government was with the vast majority of Australians.
The comments come as the Australian Council of Social Services released data showing Bundaberg was 15th out of 151 on the number of people on NSA with 5973.
Gladstone came 80th with 3411.
Mr Bennett said the government should spend less time worrying about handouts and more time on stimulating the economy.
"We have tried to stimulate the economy and inspire confidence in small business," he said.
"People need to remember that governments don't create jobs but stimulates the environment where jobs can be created," he said.
Mr Bennett said the recent MOU with GVK Hancock was an example of the growing employment opportunities in the region.
"FIFO is going to be looking for 3500 employees from this area," he said.
"And Bundaberg Port has huge potential as an economic driver."
Mr Bennett said he realised it was tough out there for people, especially in this region, but felt that his government in the last eight or nine months had worked hard to offer small businesses the opportunity to grow.
"The previous state government relied heavily on mining and ignored sectors like agriculture, construction and tourism," he said.
"When you invest in tourism to stimulate the economy people will decide to holiday at home and that is what conservative governments do."
Do you think Families Minister Jenny Macklin could live on the $35 a day dole?
This poll ended on 31 May 2013.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
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