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Family, Ageing, Community and Disability Services

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Greens urge bill that winds back transport funding for people with disability not be passed

The Australian Greens have urged a bill that will wind back transport funding for people with disability who will not access the NDIS not be passed by the Senate.

“The Mobility Allowance bill is insidious in nature and stakeholders have raised concerns about how the changes to the payment are going to make life harder for people with disability accessing the payment who will not access the NDIS. Government is once again trying to save money from people with disability.

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Govt must stop pre-empting cashless welfare card success to spruik broader rollout: Greens

Comments by the Government about rolling out the cashless welfare card more broadly come as no surprise, as that has been their agenda all along, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The Government needs to stop hinting at an extended rollout of the cashless welfare card until the trials have been independently evaluated following the completion of the full trial period.

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Government misses deadline imposed by the Senate for details of shoddy cashless welfare card report

The Government has failed to comply with an order of the Senate for a production of documents pertaining to the cashless welfare card ‘progress report’.

“The Government was given a week to table the documents and statistics used to prepare the shoddy and premature cashless welfare card report, which was produced in a week and a half. The deadline to produce these documents was COB on Wednesday November 16, it  has now been missed”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Government need to show leadership on out of home care

The Government need to take last night’s harrowing Four Corners report seriously and act to address the flawed out of home care system that often hurts kids rather than helping, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The Government knows full well about the major systemic problems with the out of home care system around Australia and have done little to address it.

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Senate gives Government a week to table documents and statistics used for shoddy cashless welfare card report

The Australian Greens have secured Senate support for an Order of Production of Documents pertaining to the cashless welfare card progress report, which was produced by the Department of Social Services a week and a half after admitting in Senate estimates that a report didn’t exist.

“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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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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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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