The Australian Greens today welcomed reforms passed by the Senate in the Employment Services Reform Bill that will see much needed changes to the harsh Welfare to Work compliance regime.
"This Bill is particularly important given the current economic crisis and predicted increase in the number of people who may lose their jobs and be under greater financial stress," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.
"The Greens moved a number of significant amendments that made the Bill fairer and addressed some of the flaws identified by the community sector."
"In particular, the amendments provide discretion to Centrelink so that people's individual circumstances can be taken into account. One of the harshest aspects of Welfare to Work was its arbitrary nature, which has now been addressed."
"The Australian Greens believe that, for the majority of those on welfare, the best outcome is for them to find meaningful employment. It is the best outcome for their families, their self-esteem and their standard of living, and it is the best outcome for our society and the productivity of our economy," said Senator Siewert.
"We are disappointed that the Government has decided to retain the eight week non-payment penalty. The Greens strongly believe that this penalty is punitive, unfair and leads to further severe hardship for already vulnerable people."
"While welcoming the Bill, the Greens intend to keep a close eye on its implementation, to ensure it achieves its objectives of re-engaging job seekers in meaningful employment," she concluded.
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