Anti-Poverty Week Executive Director and former Mackay resident, Toni Wren, caught up with Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson this week. Mackay Regional Council has participated in APW for many years.
Toni was meeting with Mayor Williamson to discuss poverty in Mackay and urging the Council to adopt a motion to support a $75 a week increase in the Newstart payments for unemployed people. Councillor Williamson was surprised to hear as many as 4,500 people were receiving these allowances in the Mackay LGA and that it was as low as $40 a day. Toni outlined the range of people receiving Newstart including people with disability, families with children, and people aged over 55 with low prospects of getting employment. Toni also shared the Deloitte Access Economics analysis which was commissioned by ACOSS in September 2018 and showed a $75 per week increase to Newstart would provide a $17.4 million economic boost to the Mackay LGA in the first year alone.
Mayor Williamson has agreed to bring forward a motion for Council to support the Raise the Rate campaign to increase unemployment payments by $75 a week. He also said Mackay Regional Council would again take part in Anti-Poverty Week this year.