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Labor still hedging their bets on raising Newstart and addressing poverty

Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale today said Labor was clearly feeling the heat on Newstart, with an internal document showing cracks starting to appear in their continued refusal to back any raise to the payment.

“It’s good that Labor is finally waking up to the reality that $278 a week is simply not enough to live on, but again, they’re not making any promises to fix it,” Dr Di Natale said.

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January 26: Government shouldn’t be pressuring local government over plans to change citizenship ceremonies 

The Australian Greens commend the Byron Bay Council for wanting to move their citizenship ceremony so as to avoid a day that causes hurt to members of their community and are very disappointed by the thuggish approach coming from Canberra to those Councils seeking to make this change.

“We urge Councils around Australia not to be put off by the bullying coming from Canberra, Australian Greens spokesperson on First Nations issues Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Government should release "secret" Centrelink report

The Australian Greens have deep concerns about the outsourcing of call centre workers in Brisbane, basically privatising Centrelink. The jobs that have been cut from the Department of Human Services by successive Governments should be reinstated including the 1200 jobs cut in the 2017-18 Budget. 

“Centrelink missed nearly 48 million calls last year and employing Serco is not an answer to their woes, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Australian Greens launch tax overhaul to smash systemic inequality

Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale today has launched the party’s plan to use our tax system to end poverty and inequality, stripping back tax breaks and ending subsidies to Big Business in favour of funding essential services and increasing Newstart for the first time since 1994.

Following a keynote speech at the Australian Council of Social Services National Conference, Dr Di Natale said Australia’s economic growth was not being shared by all.

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Almost 48 million calls to Centrelink have gone unanswered last financial year

47, 950, 425 million calls to Centrelink have reached a busy signal in the last financial year with 5,313,954 being abandoned.

Youth and students are spending the longest average time waiting, currently waiting on hold for 32 and half minutes.

16 460,902 calls to the Families and Parenting line, 15,895,174 calls to the Employment Services line and 7,781,803 calls to the Youth and Students line reached a busy signal in the last financial year.

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Deaths in Custody Audit: Governments had decades to act  

The Government has tabled their audit of the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, complying with an order for the production of documents from the Australian Greens passed by the Senate.

“Successive Governments have had almost thirty years to get this right, but we now see that incarceration rates have in fact doubled since the completion of the Royal Commission, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on First Nations issues said today.

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Fewer people applying for and being approved for the Disability Support Pension (DSP) Estimates reveals

“There has been a sharp decline in people applying for and being approved for the disability support pension Estimates has revealed.

“In 2012 the Labor Government  reduced the number of people able to access the support, introducing changes to the eligibility criteria and forcing people to prove they can’t find work for 18 months.

“In 2015 the Abbott Government announced they would be reviewing  DSP recipients under 35 and then started on those over 35.

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Estimates reveals that one third of Centrelink reviews relate to DSP

Questions to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal at Estimate yesterday revealed that one third of Centrelink cases the tribunal is reviewing  are related to the Disability Support Pension.

"In 2017/2018 there was a total of 10 913 reviews regarding Centrelink lodged, 3610 of which were on the Disability Support Pension.

"Lodgements relating to decisions about disability support pension continued to be the most common type of application, comprising 33 per cent of all Centrelink lodgements.

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Apology: Greens support survivors ongoing pursuit of justice

The Australian Greens have expressed their admiration for the courage of survivors of institutional child sexual abuse and their strong support for survivors’ ongoing pursuit of justice.

“Yesterday was a very important, although a difficult day for many people and it resurfaced many traumatic issues for survivors, Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Families and Communities said.

“It has been a privilege to work with and listen to survivors during the National Apology Reference Group process.

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Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission: Bill needs strengthening and lacks reference to the rights of older Australians  

The Australian Greens have provided additional comments to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bill 2018 inquiry report  which has tabled this morning.

“While the Greens are broadly supportive of this bill we believe there are a series of amendments required to ensure that we are doing the best to ensure safety and quality of care for older Australians, Greens spokesperson on ageing Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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