Family, Ageing, Community & Disability Services
We are committed to delivering a guaranteed adequate income to all Australians, so as to assure people have appropriate support. Accessible social services, community resources and income support are essential for ensuring everybody has access to quality health care, housing, employment, education and training. The Greens are committed to increasing Newstart Allowance and raising all income support payments to better reflect the cost of living.
The community and not-for-profit sector plays an important role in our society and Government needs to commit funding and support accordingly.
People who experience disability, and their families and carers deserve access to life-long support and services that meet their individual circumstances. They should have the opportunity to actively participate in planning and delivery of policies, services and supports in areas such as education, health, housing, mobility, employment and social engagement. The Greens are actively working to ensure all Australians have independence, self-determination and choice in their lives.
30 May 2007
"The ABS statistics released today on working hours show women are losing out in our workplaces," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"More women than men are working multiple jobs. 58% of employees who work more than one job are women. This startling statistic is a consequence of government policies that have reduced many women to needing to take more than one part-time job to make ends meet," she said.
"The government's Welfare to Work regime forces single mothers to take any job they are offered, while changes to the Job, Employment and Training (JET) program effectively prevents these women from studying and therefore reduces opportunities for better work. As a result many women are being forced into low paid unskilled jobs."
09 May 2007
I rise today to talk about a very important issue-in fact, to continue what I plan to be a series of commentaries and stories about people who are being adversely impacted by the Welfare to Work provisions.
09 May 2007
"Once again the Government has failed to adequately address the real needs of carers and people with disabilities in our community. A one-off "bonus" payment will not go far in providing the systematic change and on-going support needed to properly care for our carers", said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
08 May 2007
The Government has missed the mark on Aboriginal health and housing according to the Greens.
"This budget goes no where near far enough to address the 17 year life expectancy age gap between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal Australians," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"Most of the new funding measures appear to be directed to regional and remote communities. The majority of Aboriginal Australians live in urban communities, but their life expectancy is just as bad as those in remote communities."
"Clearly government policies on Aboriginal issues are failing across the board not just in remote communities," said Senator Siewert.
"Aboriginal health and housing are sorely under-funded in this year's budget, a fraction of the $500 m/year needed for health or the $2.3 billion needed to catch up on housing."
"Despite recent international attention on Australia's record as last in the developed world on indigenous health and development, the Government has yet again failed to deliver on meaningful reform," she said.
"Having taken funding away from urban Aboriginal housing the Government has done nothing to ease housing affordability, leaving the majority of Aboriginal Australians worse off."
26 Mar 2007
The Australian Greens also will be opposing this bill. In speaking to the legislative changes proposed by the Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Welfare to Work and Vocational Rehabilitation Services) Bill 2006, I intend to address three main issues.
14 Mar 2007
"Mal Brough's plan to overturn Aboriginal community ownership of their land is not about private home ownership on remote communities. It is just a foot in the door strategy to overturn community land tenure," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"This is not the way to tackle the Aboriginal housing crisis."
"For a government that promotes itself on its economic credentials, this plan is an embarrassment. The Minister has failed home economics 101. Private home ownership is not the economic panacea, nor is it realistic," said Senator Siewert.
27 Feb 2007
I rise to speak tonight on issues of fairness and to share some stories that have been brought to my attention as to how Australia has become less fair in recent times.
25 Feb 2007
"More than double the number of Aboriginal Australians are now being breached by Centrelink as a result of Welfare to Work," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"When questioned in the Senate this afternoon the new Minister for Human Services, Ian Campbell was obviously unaware of the impact of the breaching regime on Aboriginal Australians," she said.
"It is clearly not on the Government's radar, despite warnings of the potential adverse impact of Welfare to Work on Aboriginal communities."
25 Feb 2007
My question is to the Minister for Human Services, Senator Ian Campbell. Is the minister aware of the dramatic increase in the number of Aboriginal Australians on income support payments who have been given an eight-week non-payment penalty, or breached, by Centrelink? Is the minister aware that, in the first three months of the new compliance system, 140 Aboriginal people were breached? This is nearly double the figure of the previous three months, or an increase of 133 per cent. Is the minister concerned that, of 170 breaches in his home state of WA, 50 were Aboriginal people-nearly a third of all breaches? Is the minister aware of these alarming figures? What does the minister intend to do to address this pressing problem?
11 Feb 2007
"Last week the Senate heard how people with disabilities are some of the most disadvantaged in our community, but this week the Howard Government are washing their hands of any responsibility for the growing shortfall in services," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
The Department of Family and Community Services [FaCSIA] told Senate estimates today that the Government would not be committing additional resources to tackle growing unmet need in disability support services -- despite the unanimous recommendation of a Senate inquiry last week that extra funding was the number one priority.