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$20 million trialling the cashless card could be much better spent on services for people struggling: Greens

The Government should abandon the punitive cashless welfare card and invest the money in programs that really work, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"This card is an ideological waste of money by the Government. Any sensible analysis of the interim evaluation shows very clearly that the Government is spinning the results – but even they can't spin the fact that half the people surveyed said their life was worse off.

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A strong social safety net is not ‘bad debt’, it is a duty of care and an investment

Treasurer Scott Morrison’s speech to economists today that refers to ‘bad debt’ as ‘racking up debts’ for welfare payments shows his lack of understanding of our social safety net and that he is still set on vilifying Australia’s most vulnerable rather than fixing burgeoning inequality, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Spending public money on a strong social safety net that supports people when they are out of work, sick or have a disability should not be framed as ‘bad debt’ by the Federal Government. It is duty of care and an investment in the future.

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Nation’s most disadvantaged can now barely get into the rental market, let’s address that in the Federal budget: Greens

Dismally low statistics that show the nation’s most poorest and disadvantaged are almost completely locked out of the rental market shows a widening gap between the well off and the poor in Australia that must urgently be addressed, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“In the survey by Anglicare only eight properties in the whole country were affordable for a single person over 18 on youth allowance. What a disastrous figure.

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Mental illness "one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century"

"The findings of the Mission Australia and Black Dog Five Year Mental Health Youth Report that almost one in four young people are likely to have a serious mental health problem confirms yet again the need for a strong commitment to mental health funding by the Turnbull Government", Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"We urgently need strong targets and programs in schools and universities. It is deeply concerning but not surprising that young women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are disproportionately affected.

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Unknown community leaders consulted on cashless welfare card trials shows lack of transparency

It is concerning that the those consulted for the extension of the cashless welfare card trials are unknown ‘leaders’ that the Government have kept anonymous, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“For the Government to claim there are community leaders who support the cashless welfare card  trial then refuse to provide names is simply not good enough.

“This means there are unknown supporters for a card that recipients in the trial site have been forced on to. There needs to be better transparency, accountability and better processes.

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Greens welcome local community leaders creating a more inclusive Australia Day

Australia Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed local community leaders in Cockburn and Bassendean considering an inclusive day for Australia Day.

“Both the City of Cockburn and Town of Bassendean have taken unifying steps in opening a dialogue on an Australia Day for everyone.

“Everyone should be able to celebrate our wonderful country on a day where all are welcome.

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Senate inquiry shows Centrelink recipients feel bullied and threatened by the Government

The last two days of evidence to the senate inquiry into Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system has raised a myriad of issues and suggests recipients feel bullied by the Government who are pursuing a debt that people may not owe.

“Many people are being affected including pensioners, single parents, students, carers and jobseekers. Lots of these people are effectively putting their lives on hold to prove their innocence”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Backbench fighting to keep Work for the Dole shows politicians not thinking of outcomes for the unemployed: Greens

News today that Coalition backbenchers are lobbying to keep Work for the Dole in the upcoming budget because it is ‘red meat for the base’ shows that Liberal politicians are more worried about their own jobs than helping jobseekers find meaningful employment, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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