Minister fails to see the cost of comment

DUBBO residents have voiced their anger at the "unrealistic and impossible" claim of a federal government minister to live on the $35-a-day Newstart allowance.

Families minister Jenny Macklin comments came as more than 80,000 single parents were shifted from the parenting payment to the lower Newstart allowance yesterday, leaving some up to $110 a week worse off.

Ms Macklin was asked whether she could survive on the $246-a-week payment.

She responded "I could", but the question and her answer were described as ''inaudible'' in a transcript of the press conference later issued by her office.

A spokeswoman for Ms Macklin said the exchange had not been deliberately omitted, but the transcript had been produced from an iPhone recording of an outdoor press conference.

The Daily Liberal hit the streets asking residents what they thought of the minister's claim to live on $35-a-day.

Peggy Dougan believed the transcript's inaudible question and answer was a way to cover the minister's back.

"You can't live on $35 a day," she said.

"How can you cope with rent, electricity, water and fuel? It's not enough. It is impossible and unrealistic for a family."

Zillah Nicholls said $35-a-day would not cover the cost of the bare essentials and people would have to miss out on several items.

"I think the Newstart Allowance needs an increase because the living costs are expensive," she said.

Scott Strauts said Ms Macklin's comments showed she had no idea what it was like raising a family on a tight budget.

"I really don't believe she can live on $35 a day," he said.

"Its impossible, it can't be done. Just look at the power bill, water and rent."

The federal government had a huge debt to pay off and it was cutting costs in the wrong way, Ossie Fish said.

"Absolutely can't do it (live on $35 a day)," he said.

"You can't afford to pay rent, electricity or running a vehicle with that amount. How can you survive and look for a job, be presentable, buy a shirt or shoes and get to an interview with no car?"

Cody Smith said it would be extremely tough for him to live on $35-a-day while living at home and there was no way anyone who rented could survive.

"Food, water and essential bills chew up a lot of money and how can you afford to live?" he said.

"There's nothing left over."

Elle Scott said rising living costs made it impossible for anyone to make ends meet with $35-a-day.

"With the phone bill, electricity, rent and food- how can you afford to have a life?" she said.

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