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Years of eroding the social security system has hurt our children, it is time to stop harsh cuts

New figures released at the start of Anti-Poverty Week showing 730,000 Australian kids are living below the poverty line should send a clear message to Government that cuts to funding, and harsh, demonising, paternalistic approaches to social security is not working,  Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“After years of successive governments eroding different income support recipient payments and services, how can we not expect more children to be worse off and living under the poverty line?

“The report released by ACOSS on Sunday is an indictment of Governments that have continually missed the mark when it comes to delivering a strong social security system for vulnerable Australians; cuts to payments, kicking people onto lower payments, cutting services and harsh sanctions mean that people fall further and further behind. On top of this the base rate of Newstart is falling further behind.

“The Government is hell-bent on further harshening and shrinking the social security net with cuts to family payments, they’ve also flagged potentially linking school attendance to income support payments and an expanded cashless card rollout.

 “This Anti-Poverty Week the Greens will be giving a face to people living on income support with a photo series called ‘Humans on Centrelink’.

 “The project aims to raise awareness about the lived experience of those on income support. They are mothers, students, older Australians, families, and those living with disability. The photo series’ aim is to put a face to those who the Government is trying to make faceless.

 “We’ve heard many accounts over the past few weeks, and it is clear and evident that too many people in Australia are living below the poverty line. They are everyday people, and the Government should wake up to the fact that we desperately need an evidence based 21st century social security system”.

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