Greens call for systemic welfare reform as budget fails unemployed Australians

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Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says that unemployed Australians have been overlooked in the Federal budget.

“The budget is good news for working families but, but unemployed people will still face extreme financial pressure,” Senator Siewert said today.

“I am glad to see that this budget has delivered in some key areas of reform, including aged care, Denticare and funding for the important first stage of an NDIS.

“It is good to hear the Government commit to sharing the benefits of the mining boom with more Australians.

“However, the boom times will not be shared by our most vulnerable people, with single parents condemned to trying to survive on Newstart with already struggling unemployed Australians. 

“The rate of Newstart remains $130 per week below the poverty line.

“The newly announced $210 supplement payment for Newstart equated to a rise of only $4 per week, well short of the $50 per week that has been widely called for. It is an insult to unemployed Australians.

“The one positive for people who become unemployed is the doubling of the Liquid Assets Test, but importantly, this does not help people already receiving the payment.

“It remains clear that a system wide review of income support needs to be an absolute priority.

“Our current system of ad-hoc payments leads to marginalisation and poverty. A smarter, modern approach to social security is essential to meet Australia’s future needs,” Senator Siewert concluded.