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Senator Brandis, pick up the phone and call Centrelink

“Senator Brandis: step out of your ivory tower, and attempt to call Centrelink. Be prepared for a wake-up call”,  Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“This is the struggle being experienced by constituents that you are meant to represent.

“I have personally witnessed my constituents wait for hours trying to get through to Centrelink. People dealing with Centrelink are exasperated and stressed.

“Hundreds of people have emailed and called my office to detail their experiences. I can assure you that the system is almost impossible to navigate.

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‘Improvements’ for debt recovery system just fiddling around the edges: Greens

The Government’s announcement of ‘improvements’ to the debt recovery system are fiddling around the edges and do not address the fundamental issues of the Centrelink automated debt recovery system, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“Making an awful clunky system that lacks proper human oversight slightly more user friendly is not going to stop the fact that thousands of struggling Australians are being issued with debts that they do not have. Why should people have to navigate a slightly improved system when they shouldn’t be navigating it at all?

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Greens will oppose Omnibus Bill

The Australian Greens today said they will oppose the Government’s Omnibus Bill in its entirety.

“The Australian Greens will be opposing this bill in its entirety. The measures in the Bill will hurt struggling Australians to support.

“The threat that the social safety net cuts are necessary to pay for childcare reforms and the NDIS shows their spiteful and ham-fisted approach to our most vulnerable.

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Child mortality no longer on track as Government continues rhetoric to close the gap

The Close the Gap report now showing that child mortality rates are not on track is a dismal reflection on the Government’s half-hearted and under-funded attempts to end Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.

“One of the targets is on track to Close the Gap for our First Peoples. Just one. How has the Government let it get to this stage?

“I have witnessed many Closing the Gap reports in my time as a Senator but this year’s report is particularly devastating. Unfortunately it is not surprising.  

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Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert responds to news that the Government is tying social safety net cuts to the NDIS:

“Treasurer Morrison, stop robbing Peter to pay Paul. We should not be hacking billions from the social safety net to pay for the NDIS and you know it.

“The Treasurer is trying to pressure the Senate to support their cuts - this is a cheap trick".

“People with disability would no doubt be outraged that a young person had to wait five weeks in poverty to pay for the NDIS. 

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Deal with crossbench tries to sneak through four week wait and other nasties

The secret deal between the Government and crossbenchers on the family tax benefit sneaks through nasty cuts to the social safety net that hurts families, young people and aged pensioners.

“Nick Xenaphon and other crossbenchers should think long and hard before getting behind the legislation”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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DSP assessment is heartless and is having real impacts on the ground: Greens

The latest example of the way people with disability are being treated when attempting to access the Disability Support Pension (DSP) is heartless and shameful, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The assessment and reassessment of people on the Disability Support Pension is throwing people onto the lower Newstart payment even while they appeal the decision. This is poor practice and is unfair.

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