New plan to completely scrap driver licence fees and give thousands of Aussies FREE internet – so would you be eligible?
Low income NSW residents wouldn’t have to pay for driver licences and public housing tenants would have free wifi, under reforms proposed by the NSW Greens to alleviate the stress of poverty.
Greens MP Jenny Leong will introduce a private members bill to NSW parliament on Thursday in a bid to help the one in eight people living below the poverty line in NSW.
‘While the NSW government cannot raise the rate of income support for people living below the poverty line, there are many things they can do to help lift people out of poverty,’ Ms Leong, the NSW Greens housing spokesperson, told AAP.
People on income support, pensions and low incomes pay a significant proportion of their money straight back to the government in the form of fees and charges, Ms Leong said.
Thousands of Australians would be eligible for free internet under the proposal
Under Ms Leong’s proposal, low income residents wouldn’t have to pay for driver licence applications and renewals, driving tests, applications at Births, Deaths and Marriages, vehicle registration, working with children checks and police checks, and RSA and RCG certificates.
An unrestricted driver’s licence costs $60 for one year in NSW. A driving test is $59. A working with children check is $80.
‘For someone on a high income, these fees and charges might not be a big deal – but for someone trying to get by on income support these costs can mean that people can’t afford to catch a bus to a job interview, get their ID, apply for a job or keep their car on the road,’ Ms Leong said.
The cost of working with children checks or RSA could prevent people applying for jobs which require them, she added.
The bill would apply to anyone whose eligible for the Commonwealth Low Income Health Card, the Pensioner Concession Card or Centrelink Health Card, or would be if they were a citizen.
Eligible people would also get a Gold Opal Card and travel vouchers, and free use of ambulance services.
The proposed law comes after Ms Leong’s appearance on the SBS program ‘Could You Survive on the Breadline?’
For the program, Ms Leong spent nine days trying to live on the same amount that someone on welfare would receive.
It also took her into mould-infested public housing.
Ms Leong’s bill would offer support to public housing tenants, who would have their rent waived while they wait for maintenance works to be completed. Free wifi would also be provided.
Ms Leong said that structural poverty was a complex matter that the bill would only go a small way to addressing.
She wants the federal and state governments to raise the JobSeeker rate, provide more public housing and make all health care free.
‘But this bill contains measures that the NSW government could implement immediately, that would make a big difference to people’s lives,’ she said.