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

Australians are calling for a fairer society

09 Apr 2008

"Figures released today by the Australian Council of Social Services show a staggering 84% of Australians think the gap between rich and poor is widening. This should serve as a clear indication that all is not well in our country," said Australian Greens spokesperson on Family & Community Affairs, Senator Rachel Siewert.

"Figures released today by the Australian Council of Social Services show a staggering 84% of Australians think the gap between rich and poor is widening. This should serve as a clear indication that all is not well in our country," said Australian Greens spokesperson on Family & Community Affairs, Senator Rachel Siewert.

speeches-in-parliament

Community Affairs Committee Report

20 Mar 2008

I also took part in this inquiry. I think it is an extremely important inquiry. The recommendations reflect the extent and the strength of the evidence that we received during the inquiry, and we did receive a lot of evidence around the disadvantage and the suffering that is being experienced by, for want of a better word-and I do not like using the word necessarily-the cohort of Australians that are currently trying to survive on just the age pension. There is no doubt from the evidence that we received that there is a group of retired Australians that are doing very well. They have managed to invest in their superannuation or invest separately and they are able to do well, particularly if they own their own home.

I also took part in this inquiry. I think it is an extremely important inquiry. The recommendations reflect the extent and the strength of the evidence that we received during the inquiry, and we did receive a lot of evidence around the disadvantage and the suffering that is being experienced by, for want of a better word-and I do not like using the word necessarily-the cohort of Australians that are currently trying to survive on just the age pension. There is no doubt from the evidence that we received that there is a group of retired Australians that are doing very well. They have managed to invest in their superannuation or invest separately and they are able to do well, particularly if they own their own home.

media-releases

Older Australians still need helping hand

20 Mar 2008

Senator Rachel Siewert today renewed the Australian Greens' call for a $30 a week increase in the single aged pension.

Senator Rachel Siewert today renewed the Australian Greens' call for a $30 a week increase in the single aged pension.

news-stories

An uncaring viewpoint

17 Mar 2008

With all the discussion around the government's intentions for carer bonuses and payments, Mr Rudd seems to have lost sight of the bigger picture: even with this bonus, carers are seriously under appreciated and under funded. Payment of the bonus or a reorganisation of existing allocation of funds does little to address an issue which has been in dire need of attention for some time now.

With all the discussion around the government's intentions for carer bonuses and payments, Mr Rudd seems to have lost sight of the bigger picture: even with this bonus, carers are seriously under appreciated and under funded. Payment of the bonus or a reorganisation of existing allocation of funds does little to address an issue which has been in dire need of attention for some time now.

media-releases

Greens welcome Welfare to Work overhaul

14 Mar 2008

The Australian Greens today welcomed the Government's move to overhaul the welfare to work rules for single parents.

"Single mothers have suffered enormously under welfare to work's punitive measures. The $25-better-off commitment in particular was always ridiculous and should be scrapped," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

The Australian Greens today welcomed the Government's move to overhaul the welfare to work rules for single parents.

"Single mothers have suffered enormously under welfare to work's punitive measures. The $25-better-off commitment in particular was always ridiculous and should be scrapped," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

speeches-in-parliament

Address in Reply to Governor General

11 Mar 2008

I would like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunawal people. It was a great pleasure to be at the first welcome to country that we had in this place on 12 February. I congratulate the government for having made sure that that happened. It was also a great privilege to be at this place when the apology was finally made.

I would like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunawal people. It was a great pleasure to be at the first welcome to country that we had in this place on 12 February. I congratulate the government for having made sure that that happened. It was also a great privilege to be at this place when the apology was finally made.

media-releases

Greens call for doubling of carers' allowance

11 Mar 2008

"The Prime Minister's personal guarantee that carers would not be adversely affected by budget cuts in May is simply not good enough," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"The Prime Minister's personal guarantee that carers would not be adversely affected by budget cuts in May is simply not good enough," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

media-releases

Greens condemn careless cut to Carers

07 Mar 2008

"Cutting support to Australia's carers is mean, tight-fisted and short-sighted," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

Carers save Australian taxpayers in excess of $32 Billion, and are as a result one of the most disadvantaged groups with the lowest quality of life in the country.

"Cutting support to Australia's carers is mean, tight-fisted and short-sighted," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.


Carers save Australian taxpayers in excess of $32 Billion, and are as a result one of the most disadvantaged groups with the lowest quality of life in the country.

news-stories

Rations on the Cards

29 Feb 2008

Post-apology, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has asked us to "embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed," asserting that the mistakes of Indigenous policy of the past won't be repeated. His Government, however, is persisting in the ill thought-out and ideologically driven Northern Territory Intervention - despite a promise to pursue evidence-based policy.

The NT Intervention is racially discriminatory, which is why the previous government had to exempt it from the Racial Discrimination Act. It takes away Aboriginal land and quarantines people's money without cause, forcing them to use 'ration' cards. Hasn't this approach already failed? Aren't we simply repeating the mistakes of the past?

Post-apology, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has asked us to "embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed," asserting that the mistakes of Indigenous policy of the past won't be repeated. His Government, however, is persisting in the ill thought-out and ideologically driven Northern Territory Intervention - despite a promise to pursue evidence-based policy.

The NT Intervention is racially discriminatory, which is why the previous government had to exempt it from the Racial Discrimination Act. It takes away Aboriginal land and quarantines people's money without cause, forcing them to use 'ration' cards. Hasn't this approach already failed? Aren't we simply repeating the mistakes of the past?

media-releases

Housing crisis needs comprehensive response

05 Feb 2008

The Australian Greens today remained reserved about the Government's plans to tackle Australia's worsening housing crisis.

"In the past decade the median house price in Australia has increased from four times average incomes to six to seven times average incomes," said Australian Greens spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

"Coupled with today's interest rate hike which brings standard variable mortgage rates closer to 9 per cent, we are seeing existing and potential home buyers being priced out of the market. The savings plan announced yesterday is as the Treasurer admits a 'modest' measure. It will not solve the housing crisis for those in most need."

"We need measures to support not only those finding it difficult to buy a house but those who cannot even afford to rent. We must tackle the underlying structural issues of housing affordability in this country," she said.

"There is a clear link between the lack of stable housing and the perpetuation of intergenerational poverty. Supplying incentives for young people to save better for their first home will certainly help that demographic, but what about those without the means to save at all?"

"We look forward to the Government implementing further measures to ease Australia's housing crisis including a much needed significant increase in investment in low-cost public and community housing and a review of existing subsidies and incentives to ensure they improve access to housing for low income households."

"We need a comprehensive, in-depth approach that tackles all levels of this problem," she concluded.

The Australian Greens today remained reserved about the Government's plans to tackle Australia's worsening housing crisis.

"In the past decade the median house price in Australia has increased from four times average incomes to six to seven times average incomes," said Australian Greens spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

"Coupled with today's interest rate hike which brings standard variable mortgage rates closer to 9 per cent, we are seeing existing and potential home buyers being priced out of the market. The savings plan announced yesterday is as the Treasurer admits a 'modest' measure. It will not solve the housing crisis for those in most need."

"We need measures to support not only those finding it difficult to buy a house but those who cannot even afford to rent. We must tackle the underlying structural issues of housing affordability in this country," she said.

"There is a clear link between the lack of stable housing and the perpetuation of intergenerational poverty. Supplying incentives for young people to save better for their first home will certainly help that demographic, but what about those without the means to save at all?"

"We look forward to the Government implementing further measures to ease Australia's housing crisis including a much needed significant increase in investment in low-cost public and community housing and a review of existing subsidies and incentives to ensure they improve access to housing for low income households."

"We need a comprehensive, in-depth approach that tackles all levels of this problem," she concluded.

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