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.

media-releases

CDEP jobs cut in favour of dole

18 Jun 2009

The Australian Greens today expressed their disappointment at the Government's approach to Indigenous employment, following the defeat of Greens amendments designed to stop the Government dumping people off Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) onto income support.

"The Greens do not support the Government's plan to move Aboriginal workers from CDEP jobs onto income support," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"This is a backwards step that undermines their work-readiness and esteem, ultimately leading to worse employment outcomes."

The Australian Greens today expressed their disappointment at the Government's approach to Indigenous employment, following the defeat of Greens amendments designed to stop the Government dumping people off Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) onto income support.

"The Greens do not support the Government's plan to move Aboriginal workers from CDEP jobs onto income support," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"This is a backwards step that undermines their work-readiness and esteem, ultimately leading to worse employment outcomes."

speeches-in-parliament

CDEP in the NT

18 Jun 2009

I will largely focus my comments on the Family Assistance and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2009 and then touch very briefly on the Family Assistance Amendment (Further 2008 Budget Measures) Bill 2009. As Senator Scullion articulated, this bill has three schedules. I have little comment on the first schedule other than to say that I agree that very few people will be affected by these measures and the Greens have no objections to them. Schedule 2 relates to the provision of some appeal mechanisms which, quite frankly, make it look as if the government are doing something but in reality do not really affect the lives of people in the NT because most of the decisions that affect people in the NT under the NT intervention are not appealable under this provision.

I will largely focus my comments on the Family Assistance and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2009 and then touch very briefly on the Family Assistance Amendment (Further 2008 Budget Measures) Bill 2009. As Senator Scullion articulated, this bill has three schedules. I have little comment on the first schedule other than to say that I agree that very few people will be affected by these measures and the Greens have no objections to them. Schedule 2 relates to the provision of some appeal mechanisms which, quite frankly, make it look as if the government are doing something but in reality do not really affect the lives of people in the NT because most of the decisions that affect people in the NT under the NT intervention are not appealable under this provision.

event

Disability Employment Network Conference

30 Sep 2009 | 8:00 am

Annual Disability Employment Network Conference presented by ACE. This year's event will be from Wednesday September 30th to Friday October 2nd 2009 at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Queensland.

Senator Rachel Siewert will be speaking at the conference.

The ACE Conference is an important annual event for disability employment professionals. As part of its ongoing commitment to industry development and growth, ACE aims to provide delegates with opportunities to think, question and respond to a range of critical industry issues in ways that are meaningful to their organisation, jobseekers with disability and the industry more broadly.

More information here.

Annual Disability Employment Network Conference presented by ACE. This year's event will be from Wednesday September 30th to Friday October 2nd 2009 at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Queensland.

Senator Rachel Siewert will be speaking at the conference.

The ACE Conference is an important annual event for disability employment professionals. As part of its ongoing commitment to industry development and growth, ACE aims to provide delegates with opportunities to think, question and respond to a range of critical industry issues in ways that are meaningful to their organisation, jobseekers with disability and the industry more broadly.

More information here.

speeches-in-parliament

Alice Springs Town Camps

17 Jun 2009

I rise today to speak about two issues that I feel very strongly about and am passionately concerned about: the Alice Springs town camp leases and the exemption of the Northern Territory intervention from the Racial Discrimination Act. I have been extremely concerned by the manner in which the government and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs have proceeded with the negotiations over the Alice Springs town camp leases and the way this issue has been presented. In many cases-and I am not accusing the minister of doing this-the way the government has gone about saying that they are going to be compulsorily acquiring leases has led to a blame game at Tangentyere Council. I am concerned at the way the town camp housing associations are being blamed for the appalling conditions that people live in in the camps and for the breakdown in negotiations over the leases and housing in the town camps. I absolutely agree that housing and infrastructure in town camps needs to be improved-there is no doubt about that. The issue is how it occurs and how you maintain the involvement of the town campers and the Tangentyere Council.

I rise today to speak about two issues that I feel very strongly about and am passionately concerned about: the Alice Springs town camp leases and the exemption of the Northern Territory intervention from the Racial Discrimination Act. I have been extremely concerned by the manner in which the government and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs have proceeded with the negotiations over the Alice Springs town camp leases and the way this issue has been presented. In many cases-and I am not accusing the minister of doing this-the way the government has gone about saying that they are going to be compulsorily acquiring leases has led to a blame game at Tangentyere Council. I am concerned at the way the town camp housing associations are being blamed for the appalling conditions that people live in in the camps and for the breakdown in negotiations over the leases and housing in the town camps. I absolutely agree that housing and infrastructure in town camps needs to be improved-there is no doubt about that. The issue is how it occurs and how you maintain the involvement of the town campers and the Tangentyere Council.

speeches-in-parliament

Changes to Carers' Support Payments

16 Jun 2009

The Australian Greens believe that the carers of Australia need and deserve much more support than they are currently getting, and we are pleased to see the introduction of this legislation. Carers provide more than care to their loved ones. They also support our community in a vital way that is irreplaceable. When you consider that the Access Economics report that was produced a number of years ago estimated the cost of care at about $30 billion a year, you can see the level of support that carers provide to our community. They provide quality of life for those living with a disability, for the sick and for the elderly. They provide quality of life and improved outcomes for people far beyond any monetary value. But that care comes at a personal cost. I am sure every member of the Senate, and, in fact, every member of parliament, has at some time worked with carers.

The Australian Greens believe that the carers of Australia need and deserve much more support than they are currently getting, and we are pleased to see the introduction of this legislation. Carers provide more than care to their loved ones. They also support our community in a vital way that is irreplaceable. When you consider that the Access Economics report that was produced a number of years ago estimated the cost of care at about $30 billion a year, you can see the level of support that carers provide to our community. They provide quality of life for those living with a disability, for the sick and for the elderly. They provide quality of life and improved outcomes for people far beyond any monetary value. But that care comes at a personal cost. I am sure every member of the Senate, and, in fact, every member of parliament, has at some time worked with carers.

media-releases

Greens welcome pension increase

14 Jun 2009

Australian Greens Senator and spokesperson for Community Services Rachel Siewert today welcomed the introduction of the legislation this week to increase the aged pension and carer payments.

"This legislation is a real win for the Greens and for the community. It follows a long campaign to pressure the government to increase the income of some of the most vulnerable Australians," Senator Siewert said.

Australian Greens Senator and spokesperson for Community Services Rachel Siewert today welcomed the introduction of the legislation this week to increase the aged pension and carer payments.

"This legislation is a real win for the Greens and for the community. It follows a long campaign to pressure the government to increase the income of some of the most vulnerable Australians," Senator Siewert said.

media-releases

Labor must listen to parents on junk food

09 Jun 2009

The Australian Greens have urged the Rudd Government to follow the advice of parents and health groups and restrict junk food advertising aimed at children.

The Australian Greens have urged the Rudd Government to follow the advice of parents and health groups and restrict junk food advertising aimed at children.

media-releases

Survey points to growing hole in Rudd’s response to economic crisis

04 Jun 2009

The results of the ACOSS Community Sector Survey released today show that the Rudd Government are ignoring those hardest hit by the global financial crisis, said the Australian Greens today.

"There was already a significant rise in the number of disadvantaged Australians who were turned away from social services in 2008 - before the main impacts of the GFC were starting to be felt in Australia," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

The results of the ACOSS Community Sector Survey released today show that the Rudd Government are ignoring those hardest hit by the global financial crisis, said the Australian Greens today.

"There was already a significant rise in the number of disadvantaged Australians who were turned away from social services in 2008 - before the main impacts of the GFC were starting to be felt in Australia," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

media-releases

Rudd’s stance on town camp leases contradictory - Greens

02 Jun 2009

Moves by the Federal Government to push through with compulsory acquisition of Alice Springs town camps are a disaster in the making, and highlight a discord with rhetoric from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, say the Australian Greens.

"A positive resolution is still possible, but the Rudd Government seems determined to dig in their heels and refuse to negotiate," said Senator Siewert today.

Moves by the Federal Government to push through with compulsory acquisition of Alice Springs town camps are a disaster in the making, and highlight a discord with rhetoric from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, say the Australian Greens.

"A positive resolution is still possible, but the Rudd Government seems determined to dig in their heels and refuse to negotiate," said Senator Siewert today.

media-releases

Positive outcome on town camp leases still achievable

28 May 2009

"I am extremely concerned by the breakdown in negotiations between the Minister Jenny Macklin and Tangentyere Council over housing leases for Alice Springs town camps," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"I believe that a positive resolution to the current impasse can still be achieved, and I have written to the Minister suggesting a way forward."

"I am calling for the appointment of an independent mediator, someone with the standing and experience in Aboriginal affairs who commands the respect of both parties, to finalise the details of an agreement that delivers certainty to the camp families and tenancy reform," she said.

"I am extremely concerned by the breakdown in negotiations between the Minister Jenny Macklin and Tangentyere Council over housing leases for Alice Springs town camps," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"I believe that a positive resolution to the current impasse can still be achieved, and I have written to the Minister suggesting a way forward."

"I am calling for the appointment of an independent mediator, someone with the standing and experience in Aboriginal affairs who commands the respect of both parties, to finalise the details of an agreement that delivers certainty to the camp families and tenancy reform," she said.

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