The Australian Greens were pleased to hear at Estimates in October that the Government had ceased the 90,000 reviews of people on DSP and the ANAO report released yesterday reveals just how ineffective this cash grab was.
“The Government keeps harassing disabled people and implying that people on DSP aren’t eligible for DSP when their own process (to try and kick them off) shows that they are eligible. The Government should be focused on supporting disabled people and investing in employment, education and care programs, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services said today.
“Let’s be clear, cutting peoples payments, pushes them into poverty causing them to rely on other community services, pushing them into homelessness and ill health.
“It’s appalling, the stress and humiliation people have faced going through these processes and medical assessments and long waiting times. I have had countless people calling our office in distress over this process over the past few years
“Estimates revealed in October that there has been a sharp decline in people applying for and being approved for the disability support pension.
“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.
“In 2016 the Coalition announced a further 90,000 medical reviews of existing recipients over three years which they cancelled because it do dismally failed.
“The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report released in February examined the factors underlying a recent decline in DSP expenditure, with new DSP participants declining from almost 89,000 in 2009-10 to around 32,000 in 2016-17.
“The major parties policy approach is to make savings out of those trying to access our social safety net.
“We saw it on Thursday with Labor and the Libs ganging up to make migrants wait four years to access Newstart. We saw them ganging up to push single parents onto Newstart and we’ve seen it with disabled people
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180