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.

speeches-in-parliament

Privatising welfare

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.

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.

media-releases

Land carve up won't deliver Aboriginal home ownership

15 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.

"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.

speeches-in-parliament

Dropping off the Edge - Disadvantage in Australia

28 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.

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.

media-releases

Centrelink breaches hit Aboriginal people hardest

26 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."

"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."

questions-without-notice

An inhuman welfare system

26 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?

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?

media-releases

Government refuses to tackle disabilities crisis

12 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.

"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.

speeches-in-parliament

A mandate for disabilities funding

08 Feb 2007

I too was a member of this committee and I too am extremely pleased that we had a unanimous report. It seems a bit strange to say that it was a pleasure to work on this committee but it was in terms of working with both committee members and committee staff who were so dedicated to what we were doing. It was also a pleasure to meet and interact with both people with disabilities and with their carers who came to the committee and who told us in many cases very disturbing and tragic stories.

I too was a member of this committee and I too am extremely pleased that we had a unanimous report. It seems a bit strange to say that it was a pleasure to work on this committee but it was in terms of working with both committee members and committee staff who were so dedicated to what we were doing. It was also a pleasure to meet and interact with both people with disabilities and with their carers who came to the committee and who told us in many cases very disturbing and tragic stories.

media-releases

Clear mandate for more disability funding

08 Feb 2007

Senator Rachel Siewert has called on the Commonwealth and State Governments to increase funding for disability services, in particular for accommodation.

"I welcome the report from the Senate Community Affairs Committee today into the funding and operation of the Commonwealth State/Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA)," said Senator Siewert.

Senator Rachel Siewert has called on the Commonwealth and State Governments to increase funding for disability services, in particular for accommodation.

"I welcome the report from the Senate Community Affairs Committee today into the funding and operation of the Commonwealth State/Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA)," said Senator Siewert.

speeches-in-parliament

Motion - UN Convention on the rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities

07 Feb 2007

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia)
(3.43 pm)-I move:

That the Senate:

(a) welcomes the adoption in December 2006 by
the United Nations of the Convention on the
Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities;
and

(b) asks the Government to show leadership at
home and to the international community by
being one of the first countries to be a signatory
to the Convention when this is possible
after 30 March 2007.

Question agreed to.

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia)
(3.43 pm)-I move:

That the Senate:

(a) welcomes the adoption in December 2006 by
the United Nations of the Convention on the
Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities;
and

(b) asks the Government to show leadership at
home and to the international community by
being one of the first countries to be a signatory
to the Convention when this is possible
after 30 March 2007.

Question agreed to.

speeches-in-parliament

Child support reform overdue

18 Oct 2006

The Greens recognise that child support reform in Australia is overdue.
We also recognise that the changes contained in the Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support Scheme-New Formula and Other Measures) Bill 2006 make some significant progress in addressing reform. The current system has been in place since 1989 and creates injustices for many families, both for payees and payers.

The Greens recognise that child support reform in Australia is overdue.
We also recognise that the changes contained in the Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support Scheme-New Formula and Other Measures) Bill 2006 make some significant progress in addressing reform. The current system has been in place since 1989 and creates injustices for many families, both for payees and payers.

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