The Greens candidate for the Eden Monaro by-election Cathy Griff says recent figures show that Eden-Monaro has poverty levels almost double the New South Wales average.
"Between 15% and 25% of people in the electorate are living under the poverty line and these people would be especially disadvantaged after bushfires and the pandemic," she said.
"Affordable housing is an increasingly critical problem in Eden-Monaro. Public housing waiting lists comprise around seventy people in the towns of Eden, Merimbula, Cooma and Narooma.
"Waiting times for homes is predicted to be five to ten years. On a recent trip to Queanbeyan I sat with the saintly staff of St Benedict’s Community Centre (a co-operative initiative of Christian Churches) while an emergency bed was found for a teenage girl over the weekend. A further 170 vulnerable people are on their waiting list.
"Anti-Poverty Week later this year will be calling for the government to increase JobSeeker and associated payments to above the poverty line and make a significant investment in social housing to reduce homelessness and rental stress for the many people who are living in poverty.
"The Greens are supporting both of this year's campaigns – Raise the Rate and Everybody’s Home. “Our Invest to Recover and Green New Deal plans will close the loopholes that allow one in three major corporations pay no tax, and stop giving tax breaks to the super-wealthy. That will allow us to reinvest in education, housing and health and social services.
“Our regional recovery plan would put stimulus funding into building public housing. This would increase and support local building businesses and alleviate the rental affordability crisis, as well as getting homeless people into safe accommodation.
“We want to maintain the JobSeeker rate and bring in a fairness payment to help all Australians, whether working or unemployed. The Green New Deal includes a jobs guarantee and an end to the casualisation of jobs, two issues at the heart of why people are struggling while working horrendous hours for low wages,” she said.