New data revealed Bargara and Burnett Heads had 675 people receiving Newstart Allowance in 2017.
New data revealed Bargara and Burnett Heads had 675 people receiving Newstart Allowance in 2017. Sophie Volker

Welfare hot spots: Bundy suburbs broken down by benefits

THE Bundaberg suburbs with the most people on welfare are Bargara and Burnett Heads.

New data revealed the two suburbs had 675 people receiving Newstart Allowance in 2017.

The welfare benefit pays adults looking for work up to $39 per day.

Following closely was the combined suburb of Walkervale and Avenell Heights, which had 679 Newstart recipients.

Bundaberg Central (644), Gin Gin (447), Bundaberg North-Gooburrum (389) and Svensson Heights-Norville (358) also had a large percentage of people receiving Newstart.

The NewsMail's analysis found while Bundaberg Central did not top the list based on the number of Newstart recipients, it did based on percentage compared to population (10 per cent).

8.6 per cent of the Gin Gin population was on Newstart in 2017, .4 per cent less than Bundaberg and .3 per cent more than Walkervale-Avenell Heights.

Topping the list for Pensioner Concession Card (4859) holders and those on an Age Pension (3160) were Bargara and Burnett Heads.

The area had the most people with a Low Income Card (250) too.

Based on population, Bundaberg North-Gooburrum had the second highest number of Pension Concession Card holders (40.0 per cent).

The only welfare benefit Bargara and Burnett Heads did not top the list in was for Single Parenting Payments.

The combined suburb of Walkervale and Avenell Heights had 268 people receiving the single parenting benefit.

Bundaberg North-Gooburrum had the second highest number of Pension Concession Card holders (2,273) and people on an Age Pension (1393).

The suburb with the lowest number of Newstart recipients was Branyan-Kensington (198).

Salvation Army Captain Chriss Millard said many people on Newstart were stuck in its cycle.

"People on Newstart and pensions have been doing the best of their ability on a payment that is not going up at the same rate as the costs around them," Capt Millard said.

"Entry-level jobs are difficult to find. There's lots of jobs for skilled people but not necessarily entry stuff."

He said many people thought tools such as the Cashless Card could help, but "there (wasn't) just a one-stop fix."

"It is a complex issue. Change comes from within not from without ... Some people just need some guidance to get over the hump," he said.

"Empowering people to take charge of where they're at is one way to do that."