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 cancellation is bad policy

15 Apr 2009

The Australian Greens today renewed calls for the Federal Government to reconsider the cancellation of Community Development Employment Programs (CDEP) in the wake of the global financial crisis.

"There is growing concern in the community at the cancellation of the CDEP scheme on 1 July and the transfer of people in that scheme onto Newstart. This is the wrong decision for the Minister to be making, when the Australian job market is rapidly contracting as a result of the global financial crisis," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

The Australian Greens today renewed calls for the Federal Government to reconsider the cancellation of Community Development Employment Programs (CDEP) in the wake of the global financial crisis.

"There is growing concern in the community at the cancellation of the CDEP scheme on 1 July and the transfer of people in that scheme onto Newstart. This is the wrong decision for the Minister to be making, when the Australian job market is rapidly contracting as a result of the global financial crisis," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

news-stories

Job Network decisions show neither rhyme nor reason

06 Apr 2009

The previous government privatised the Commonwealth Employment Service to create the Job Network - by outsourcing its services to a mixture of community based non-for-profit organisations, Australian based for-profit companies and one or two international for-profit companies. In 2002 a Productivity Commission into the manner in which Job Network services were being outsourced concluded that this was not an efficient way to run a tender process.

The previous government privatised the Commonwealth Employment Service to create the Job Network - by outsourcing its services to a mixture of community based non-for-profit organisations, Australian based for-profit companies and one or two international for-profit companies. In 2002 a Productivity Commission into the manner in which Job Network services were being outsourced concluded that this was not an efficient way to run a tender process.

media-releases

Bleak future for job services sector

27 Mar 2009

The awarding of Government employment service contracts to large, profit-driven overseas organisations will deprive local, non-profit organisations of revenue they put back into social services, say the Australian Greens.

"With the very real possibility of recession hanging over their head, the Government seem more interested in privatising our social services sector, pushing profits overseas and jeopardizing successful community organisations," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

The awarding of Government employment service contracts to large, profit-driven overseas organisations will deprive local, non-profit organisations of revenue they put back into social services, say the Australian Greens.

"With the very real possibility of recession hanging over their head, the Government seem more interested in privatising our social services sector, pushing profits overseas and jeopardizing successful community organisations," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

media-releases

Not-for-profit employment providers will be gutted – Greens

25 Mar 2009

The decision by the Rudd Government to pursue privatisation of employment services in the middle of the emerging financial and employment crisis is ripping the guts out of our best not-for-profit service providers right at the time we need them most, said the Greens.

After asking questions in the Senate last week Senator Rachel Siewert has been inundated by phone calls, emails and anonymous tip-offs from major service providers and their staff.

"At the moment these services are fearful of speaking out because any adverse comment could put other services and government contracts at risk, but it is very clear that they are distressed by this turn of events," said Senator Siewert today.

The decision by the Rudd Government to pursue privatisation of employment services in the middle of the emerging financial and employment crisis is ripping the guts out of our best not-for-profit service providers right at the time we need them most, said the Greens.

After asking questions in the Senate last week Senator Rachel Siewert has been inundated by phone calls, emails and anonymous tip-offs from major service providers and their staff.

"At the moment these services are fearful of speaking out because any adverse comment could put other services and government contracts at risk, but it is very clear that they are distressed by this turn of events," said Senator Siewert today.

speeches-in-parliament

Liquid assets test

20 Mar 2009

We think that the Social Security Amendment (Liquid Assets Waiting Period) Bill 2009 is very important and we are pleased that the government have moved on it. They actually moved on it in response to the Greens putting it to the government in discussions over the economic stimulus package, because we felt that this was a significant way that the government could help working Australians in this time of economic crisis.

We think that the Social Security Amendment (Liquid Assets Waiting Period) Bill 2009 is very important and we are pleased that the government have moved on it. They actually moved on it in response to the Greens putting it to the government in discussions over the economic stimulus package, because we felt that this was a significant way that the government could help working Australians in this time of economic crisis.

media-releases

Greens achieve win on liquid assets test

19 Mar 2009

The Australian Greens today secured a significant win with the passing a bill changing the liquid assets test for Newstart Payments

These changes were part of the changes the Greens negotiated to the Economic Stimulus Package.

"This will significantly cushion the blow for Australian workers who lose their jobs by raising the threshold of the amount of money that they can have in savings before they can go onto unemployment benefits," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

The Australian Greens today secured a significant win with the passing a bill changing the liquid assets test for Newstart Payments

These changes were part of the changes the Greens negotiated to the Economic Stimulus Package.

"This will significantly cushion the blow for Australian workers who lose their jobs by raising the threshold of the amount of money that they can have in savings before they can go onto unemployment benefits," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

media-releases

Time to help parents, not punish them

12 Mar 2009

Punitive approaches to managing truancy in the Northern Territory will not solve the problem because they fail to address underlying causes, say the Australian Greens.

"It's time the NT government stop trying to shift the blame and got serious about addressing the problems in schools in the NT, especially in remote Aboriginal communities," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The NT commissioned a comprehensive report into education ten years ago which put forward practical measures to improve attendance and outcomes - ten years later they have failed to act on its recommendations and put in place the resources needed."

Punitive approaches to managing truancy in the Northern Territory will not solve the problem because they fail to address underlying causes, say the Australian Greens.

"It's time the NT government stop trying to shift the blame and got serious about addressing the problems in schools in the NT, especially in remote Aboriginal communities," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The NT commissioned a comprehensive report into education ten years ago which put forward practical measures to improve attendance and outcomes - ten years later they have failed to act on its recommendations and put in place the resources needed."

media-releases

Greens support more funding for country sport, not less

10 Mar 2009

More money, not less, would be available for country sport under an alcohol sponsorship substitution scheme proposed by the Australian Greens.

More money, not less, would be available for country sport under an alcohol sponsorship substitution scheme proposed by the Australian Greens.

media-releases

Work still to be done on Closing the Gap

26 Feb 2009

The Australian Greens said today they expected more from the Prime Minister in his first report back to Australia on Closing the Gap.

"This approach is a continuation of the Howard Government's approach to Aboriginal Issues. The Prime Minister's emphasis on personal responsibility, income management, false promises of more housing and tenure reform shows that yet again, the Government is clueless," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"The Prime Minister has said ‘We need people to take responsibility for changing their lives, and those of people around them. That is why we are trialling a program in six Northern Territory schools, in which welfare payments are conditional upon parents making sure their children attend school.'"

The Australian Greens said today they expected more from the Prime Minister in his first report back to Australia on Closing the Gap.

"This approach is a continuation of the Howard Government's approach to Aboriginal Issues. The Prime Minister's emphasis on personal responsibility, income management, false promises of more housing and tenure reform shows that yet again, the Government is clueless," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"The Prime Minister has said ‘We need people to take responsibility for changing their lives, and those of people around them. That is why we are trialling a program in six Northern Territory schools, in which welfare payments are conditional upon parents making sure their children attend school.'"

news-stories

Protecting those most in need

25 Feb 2009

The global economic crisis has serious implications for the nation and particularly my home state of Western Australia. While there is no denying that action from the Federal Government is required if we are to head off the storm, this must be targeted to the needs of the community.

Western Australia is uniquely vulnerable to the global economic melt-down. Our economic growth has been driven by the mining boom and while housing prices and the cost of living have continued to climb, wages outside of the resources sector have stagnated. Once the mining bubble bursts, the state's economy could quite possibly nose-dive. More jobs will be lost and housing prices will drop. Those that bought houses when the market was buoyant may be forced to sell them when it is sagging. Loss of jobs and a falling housing market will mean hardship for thousands of Western Australian families.

The global economic crisis has serious implications for the nation and particularly my home state of Western Australia. While there is no denying that action from the Federal Government is required if we are to head off the storm, this must be targeted to the needs of the community.

Western Australia is uniquely vulnerable to the global economic melt-down. Our economic growth has been driven by the mining boom and while housing prices and the cost of living have continued to climb, wages outside of the resources sector have stagnated. Once the mining bubble bursts, the state's economy could quite possibly nose-dive. More jobs will be lost and housing prices will drop. Those that bought houses when the market was buoyant may be forced to sell them when it is sagging. Loss of jobs and a falling housing market will mean hardship for thousands of Western Australian families.

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