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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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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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Highest level of complaints to Human Rights Commission is on disability discrimination

The Australian Human Rights Commission has confirmed in Senate Estimates that disability discrimination continues to be the highest level of complaints received across the board to the Commission.

“Almost two thirds of complaints received to the commission are either related to employment or goods and services. This percentage is reflected in the disability space, but the numbers are much higher than other cohorts, with no signs of decreasing. This must be urgently addressed”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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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?

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Coalition and Labor reject Greens motion calling on WA Government to lift conditions on Marlon Noble’s release

The Coalition and the ALP have voted down a motion calling on the WA government to lift the conditions on Mr Marlon Noble’s release.

“Mr Noble lives with intellectual disability and despite not being found guilty of a crime, was imprisoned for a decade. This represents a massive flaw in our judicial system that must be resolved. Mr Noble still has conditions to his release.

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Australia should not ignore UN Committee, laws should be amended to stop the indefinite detention of people with cognitive impairment

Australia and Western Australia should not ignore the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) call for Mr Marlon Noble to have the conditions of his release lifted after serving more than ten years in prison without a charge, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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