Mr Abbott needs to decide whether he is going to be tough on welfare recipients or take a genuine caring approach the Australian Greens said today.
The Australian Greens have questioned the Coalition’s mental health policy, saying newly announced measures are clearly at odds with their intended welfare reforms. Just a couple of weeks ago we had Mr Abbott saying we need to get tough on those on welfare, some of the very same people he is championing this week in his mental health plan.
“The community has a right to be cynical about the timing and lack of originality of Mr Abbott’s announcement,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Health spokesperson said today.
“Aspects of the Coalition plan, including funding for a Mental Health Commission, are long held Greens policies.
“The Coalition has cherry-picked ideas from the Government and the Greens to try and get a jump ahead of the expected budget announcements on mental health, and the inconsistencies in their policies are showing,” said Senator Siewert.
“Today’s announcement has the Coalition’s mental health plan at odds with their intended welfare reforms.
“Is Mr Abbott serious about his crackdown on welfare or is he serious about a caring and considered approach to mental illness?
“Some of the harshest impacts of the welfare reforms being championed by the Coalition will be felt by people with mental health conditions on disability support payments and Newstart.
“It takes a long time to address the barriers to employment faced by people who are moving from income support into a workplace.
“We need to better assist people with a mental illness in entering or re-entering the workforce. We can’t do this in an environment that is offering support while threatening tough welfare crackdowns,” concluded Senator Siewert.