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Government must suspend mutual obligations and reporting requirements for the long term

Government must use a common sense approach to Centrelink and suspend reporting requirements and mutual obligations for people already on Centrelink until COVID-19 crisis has passed
 
The Greens say the Government must use common sense and suspend the requirement for people on income support payments to report their income every fortnight and complete mutual obligations while the system is so overburdened during the COVID-19 crisis. 
 
“The Minister said yesterday "requirements will be lifted until 31 March, 2020, however if congestion continues, the Government will consider extending these arrangements.
 
“I don’t think the Government can rectify the MyGov issues by then, people can’t have complete confidence that they can report their income, be paid on time and be able to access support and advice from Centrelink staff. 
 
“It is not safe for people in our community to be attending meetings, appointments and work for the dole at this time and that is not going to change on Tuesday. 
 
“The Government has a duty of care during these difficult times and their failure to communicate effectively and clearly is adding to the stress of people already going through difficult times. 
 
“This week my office has been inundated with calls from people trying to report their income, deeply distressed their payment would be suspended or cancelled if they couldn't get online or through on the phone. 
 
"I’m also hearing reports that despite the suspension of mutual obligations, older jobseekers aged 55-67 are still being required to complete their fortnightly activity requirements of up to 15 hours volunteer work. This is dangerous for older Australians. 
 
“With 3.2 million people accessing MyGov and more than 280,000 people already lodging an ‘intent to claim’ payment it makes absolutely no sense for the thousands of people already on a payment to also be trying to get on MyGov. 
 
“The Government should be helping people, not adding to their confusion and distress."
 

Media Contact
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180
 

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