A new report from the Salvation Army has found the average Newstart recipient lives on just $17 a day after housing expenses.
The shocking report lists "accommodation expenses" as costs such as rent, mortgage, public housing, or board. Those living on welfare are then left to pay for food, transport, and all other needs with the remaining $17.
Surveying 1,267 people who use Salvation Army services, the 2018 Economic and Social Impact Survey has led to Salvo's major Paul Moulds declaring the recent federal budget has failed Australians doing it tough.
Of the respondents, 81% were living under extreme housing stress – paying more than half their income in housing costs. For households with children that figure was 90%. Just over a quarter of job seekers said the main barrier to employment was the high cost and lack of availability of transport.
"It is simply inhumane that corporations and wealthy households are handed a tax cut while the most disadvantaged and marginalised people in this country continue to be ignored," he said in a statement.
Moulds explained it was "widely acknowledged" that Newstart required a minimum increase of $75 a week just to bring those living on the scheme to the poverty line.
Earlier this month treasurer Scott Morrison rejected the idea of raising the $40 a day Newstart allowance in an interview with BuzzFeed OzPolLive.
"My priority is to give tax relief to people who are working and paying taxes," said Morrison.
Multiple Liberal politicians have sparked controversy since the debate started over the welfare allowance: backbencher Julia Banks claimed in early May she could live on the $40 a day; and MP Tim Wilson told a Q&A audience that, while difficult, the program serves its purpose.
Read the full Salvation Army report here.