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UNSW/ACOSS report shows poverty levels will continue to rise if we don’t keep income support levels above poverty line

The ACOSS/UNSW Poverty in Australia (Part 2 – Who is affected) released today shows that it is urgent that we learn the hard lessons from the policy mistakes of the past that sought to make savings out of the social safety net and condemned millions to poverty. That includes committing to keeping all income support rates above the poverty line the Greens say. 
 

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Government must urgently act on Change the Record Report and start by including a First Nations representative on the COVID Coordination Commission

The Change the Record Critical Condition Report released today has shown how existing inequalities and injustices faced by First Nations peoples have been exacerbated and further entrenched by the COVID crisis and highlights the urgent need for a recovery that includes First Nations peoples. 
 
“This report highlights exactly why we need more transparency around the National #COVIDー19 Coordination Commission," Senator Rachel Siewert said. 
 

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Governments must account for process that allowed for destruction of sacred Pilbara site

Greens Spokesperson on First Nations issues Senator Rachel Siewert said:

“I am appalled and deeply upset for the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people who have been treated with such blatant disregard and disrespect by the State Government and Rio Tinto.

“The State Government must account for the processes that allowed this to happen.

“I cannot imagine a European artefact of such cultural significance being destroyed like this."

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$60 billion should be spent on keeping  people above the poverty line

The revised Jobkeeper figures released today mean that the Government has no excuse to return the Jobseeker payment to $40 a day at the end of September. 

Further, the Government can top up the DSP and Carer Payments so that disabled people and carers can meet the additional costs they are facing because of the pandemic.

No one in a country as wealthy as Australia should be living in poverty and cutting income support payments to those who need it most is a choice, not an inevitability.
 

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Greens call Cashless Debit Card exemption process a debacle 

1000 applications to exit the Cashless Debit Card have now been received with less than 100 applications processed, the latest figures on the Cashless Debit Card show.

“This process is a debacle. The Department recently said in an answer to a question on notice that it is taking  an average of five months for an application to be processed, I note that this was estimated to the beginning of March which is now over 2 months ago so the average is now higher than that”, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services said. 

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Censure motion looming for Minister apparently lying: Bandt

Adam Bandt 21 May 2020

Greens Leader and MP for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, said that Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, had potentially lied to him in writing over the Minister’s closure of a Centrelink office in the electorate of Melbourne, and that in the absence of an explanation, Bandt would be moving a censure motion when the Parliament resumes.

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Senate does not support Greens motion calling for disabled people to receive increase in support

For the second day in a row the Senate has not supported disabled people and carers, voting down a Greens motion calling for a top-up payment to Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment so that these payments are equal to the new rate of Jobseeker Payment, ” Senator Rachel Siewert said.
 
"I’m really disappointed that my colleagues are not seeing how big an issue this is for disabled people and carers. 
 

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Greens welcome suspension of mutual obligations to June 1 but say it is a temporary solution 

With almost half a million people losing their jobs in the last month and underemployment rising to 1.8 million people there are going to be a very large number of people engaging with job providers and having to deal with mutual obligations for the first time. This will put a lot of pressure on a system that is already not fit for purpose. 

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COVID Senate Committee hears there may be changes to Community Development Program post Covid 

I was pleased to hear at the public hearing of the COVID Senate Select Committee today that there are active discussions about the future of the Community Development Program. 

CDP cannot continue to keep running as it was before its suspension as part of the response to COVID19. It is a punitive and discriminatory program that sees work for the dole participants, who are largely First Nations peoples having to do work hours and have participation requirements that are far higher than those in the Jobactive program.

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Disappointment that Senate didn’t show solidarity with disabled people and carers who are struggling with costs due to COVID-19 

“It’s deeply disappointing that the Senate didn’t demonstrate solidarity with disabled people and carers by supporting the Greens motion calling on the Government to provide the full $550 coronavirus supplement to Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment recipients,” Senator Rachel Siewert said.
 
“Disabled people and carers feel abandoned by this Government and today we had the opportunity to show them they have not been abandoned by the Senate. 
 
“The Government cannot deny that there are increased costs that come with living through a pandemic. 
 

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