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Anti-poverty week: Stop demonising and punishing people on income support

At the start of anti-poverty week the Greens are calling on the Government to stop their targeted approach to humiliating, stigmatising and demonising people on income support.

“In a wealthy country like Australia we really need to ask why we are failing so spectacularly at delivering social services and the impact it is having on our community’s economic equality, mental health and quality of life, Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on community services said.  

“How can the Government say that there will be “action” on mental health and poverty – when their social services policy is to punish people on income support and push them further into poverty, causing stress and anxiety. 

Coalition policies that condemn people to further poverty and stigmatise and humiliate those who dare to access our social safety net include:

-Refusing to raise the woefully low Newstart and Youth Allowance payments – despite clear evidence of the benefit

- A punitive job compliance framework that has people chasing work that is simply not there and not being provided with sufficient support
- Making older people on Newstart have to fulfil their activity requirements through more paid work rather than volunteer hours – despite older jobseekers having trouble finding paid work
- A work for the dole program that does not provide meaningful work opportunities or training
- The discriminatory Commonwealth Development Program that means First Nations peoples are subjected to a work for the dole scheme that is far harsher and more punitive than their city counterparts
-Attempting to drug test income support recipients
-Attempting to make people under 25 wait four weeks to access income support payments
-Subjecting First Nations people and young people to the cashless welfare card
-Pushing people off the DSP onto Newstart
- Essentially a forced labour plan approach to farm work 

"Piecemeal approaches don’t work. We cannot be looking at poverty, mental health and our community’s wellbeing without looking at how we provide services and supports and our social policy.

“The Coalition has an agenda and it is to stigmatise and demonise people accessing our social safety net.

“Increasing Newstart and Youth Allowance would significantly help people struggling to try to make ends meet, that is one way we can address poverty.

The Greens have a bill before Parliament to raise Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 a week which will be debated this Thursday.

Media Contact:

Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180


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