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Expansion of income management would dump more pressure on younger Australians

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 2 Jul 2014

The Australian Greens said today that an expansion of income management would compound the tough social security measures already set to impact young jobseekers.

"The Government has an ideological belief in income management, so in a way I'm not surprised that McClure included it in the interim report. Having spent a fortune on income management to date, there is no measurable benefit of this punitive approach," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.

"The Federal Budget saw the Government introduce their cruel ‘Earn or Learn' regime, that will dump young people off income support for up to six months at a time, as well as reintroducing work for the dole requirements. It is clear that they will go even further and introduce punitive income management regimes if given half the chance.

"The Government is intent on punishing young people who do not have a job, in the mindset that this will suddenly see employment opportunities appear out of thin air. We know that youth unemployment is a complex problem, and simplistic measures such as cutting people off income support and income management will nothing to address it.

"The reality is that many young unemployed people are facing barriers to work that the current system isn't addressing, and that are being compounded by low rates of income support in the form of payments like Youth Allowance and Newstart.

"As a result of their Earn or Learn policy, the Government expects 550,000 applications for emergency relief over the next four years, a clear demonstration of just how hard it will be for those affected.

"To make matters worse, we now have the prospect of income management being ramped up, and given the Government's track record in the budget, it seems likely that young people will again be targeted as suggested in the McClure review.

"Income management is the epitome of poor policy making. It is expensive, wasteful and has not been proven to deliver strong outcomes. It builds and entrenches dependency, meaning people moved onto the scheme but find it very hard to escape. This is the last thing a young person needs as they're trying to build a life for themselves.

"If the Government is genuine about wanting to reform our social security system they need to understand the challenges facing young job seekers and provide them with the income support, job services and other assistance they need to transition into the workforce, not simply punishing them for being young and being out of work," Senator Siewert concluded.


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