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British Museum should return sacred objects

“I wish to again express my support for Rodney Kelly in his endeavour to retrieve sacred objects taken from Gweagal people by a member of Captain Cook's crew when the HMS Endeavour arrived in Botany Bay in 1770”, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“As Mr Kelly has said, these sacred artefacts were taken by gunfire and the legal title belongs to the descendant Gweagal people.

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Cashless Welfare Card report piecemeal and anecdotal

“The Cashless Debit Card Trial Progress Report released by the Department of Social Services today is a piecemeal report, relying on a large amount of anecdotal evidence”, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“This is a policy approach on the fly. The data is not even or consistent across trial sites and the so-called improvements are results from earlier this year which are not  consistently carrying through.

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Australia is leaving the vulnerable behind

“A report released today by the Community Council of Australia is a damning indictment on the Government’s lack of action in addressing poverty, suicide rates and carbon emissions", Australian Greens Spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
The Australia We Want report shows rising inequality, rising suicide rates and above-average carbon emissions across Australia. 
“We have known about these issues for years now, yet the Federal Government continues to cut funding to social services while giving tax cuts to the rich. 

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We don’t need another inquiry

“I am frankly astonished at the announcement of an inquiry into the incarceration rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by Attorney-General George Brandis and Minister Scullion this morning”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“We have known what we need to do for over 25 years now. The Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody made 339 recommendations, a large number of which have not been implemented.

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Another punitive approach to income support by Government

“Minister Tudge’s moves to tighten the rules on unemployment benefits is yet another attack on those on income support", Australian Greens Spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“We know that approximately 760,000 people were on Newstart in August and that 430,000 of those were defined as “jobseekers”. But ABS statistics show that the total job vacancies in the June-August quarter was 177,300.

“Minister Tudge is saying that sanctions will be toughened and “high expectations” will be set, but the jobs are simply not out there.

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WA offered Federal funding for CNS but says current arrangements are ‘sufficient’

Estimates has revealed that the Federal Government is offering states & territories funding to help roll out mandatory custody notification services, but the WA Government have said WA's current services are ‘sufficient’.

“Custody notification services in New South Wales have been immensely successful. There have been no Aboriginal deaths in custody since 2000, apart from when sadly the service was not used in July this year because of a loophole in the legislation, and Aboriginal woman Ms Rebecca Maher died.

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Nearly 29 million busy signals for people trying to reach Centrelink last financial year

The number of calls to Centrelink that hit a busy signal has ballooned out to nearly 29 million for 2015-16, up from 22 million the previous year. 

"In addition call waiting times on the main program phone lines remains high causing further frustration.

“I have been tracking this growing problem for some time and every estimates the numbers seem to continually climb.  

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Nearly 3500 people with disability off the DSP onto Newstart or Youth Allowance in one year

Estimates has revealed that from June 2015 to June 2016 nearly 3500 people with disability were moved off the Disability Support Pension (DSP) onto Newstart or Youth Allowance. The Department of Social Services could not reveal how many people had sought temporary incapacity or partial capacity exemption from mutual obligations because due to their disability they are unable to complete these obligations.

“Thousands of people with disability across the country are now on the lower Newstart payment or Youth Allowance”, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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DSS unable to provide data on cashless card repeatedly cited by Minister Tudge to media outlets

The Department of Social Services have said in estimates that they have not produced a report with evidence of the cashless welfare card working so far, despite the Minister Tudge repeatedly citing figures to media about the card’s alleged success.

“Repeatedly over the last few months we have seen the Minister drip feed mostly anecdotal data to media as a means of promoting the cashless welfare card trials.  We have also seen media that mentions a ‘confidential report’.

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People thrown off DSP onto Newstart struggling to meet harsh requirements

Estimates has revealed the number of people temporarily suspended for medical reason from having to meet requirements as a job seeker under JobActive has jumped from 20% to 25%.

In addition the number of people receiving suspension from mutual obligations has also increased, so the number of people with medical suspension has increased significantly.

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