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Greens call Cashless Debit Card exemption process a debacle 

1000 applications to exit the Cashless Debit Card have now been received with less than 100 applications processed, the latest figures on the Cashless Debit Card show.

“This process is a debacle. The Department recently said in an answer to a question on notice that it is taking  an average of five months for an application to be processed, I note that this was estimated to the beginning of March which is now over 2 months ago so the average is now higher than that”, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services said. 

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Censure motion looming for Minister apparently lying: Bandt

Adam Bandt 21 May 2020

Greens Leader and MP for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, said that Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, had potentially lied to him in writing over the Minister’s closure of a Centrelink office in the electorate of Melbourne, and that in the absence of an explanation, Bandt would be moving a censure motion when the Parliament resumes.

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Senate does not support Greens motion calling for disabled people to receive increase in support

For the second day in a row the Senate has not supported disabled people and carers, voting down a Greens motion calling for a top-up payment to Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment so that these payments are equal to the new rate of Jobseeker Payment, ” Senator Rachel Siewert said.
"I’m really disappointed that my colleagues are not seeing how big an issue this is for disabled people and carers. 

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Greens welcome suspension of mutual obligations to June 1 but say it is a temporary solution 

With almost half a million people losing their jobs in the last month and underemployment rising to 1.8 million people there are going to be a very large number of people engaging with job providers and having to deal with mutual obligations for the first time. This will put a lot of pressure on a system that is already not fit for purpose. 

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COVID Senate Committee hears there may be changes to Community Development Program post Covid 

I was pleased to hear at the public hearing of the COVID Senate Select Committee today that there are active discussions about the future of the Community Development Program. 

CDP cannot continue to keep running as it was before its suspension as part of the response to COVID19. It is a punitive and discriminatory program that sees work for the dole participants, who are largely First Nations peoples having to do work hours and have participation requirements that are far higher than those in the Jobactive program.

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Disappointment that Senate didn’t show solidarity with disabled people and carers who are struggling with costs due to COVID-19 

“It’s deeply disappointing that the Senate didn’t demonstrate solidarity with disabled people and carers by supporting the Greens motion calling on the Government to provide the full $550 coronavirus supplement to Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment recipients,” Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“Disabled people and carers feel abandoned by this Government and today we had the opportunity to show them they have not been abandoned by the Senate. 
“The Government cannot deny that there are increased costs that come with living through a pandemic. 

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Senate says no to longterm increase to Jobseeker payment

The Senate has not supported a Greens motion calling on the Government to retain the new rate of the Jobseeker Payment of $1115 a fortnight to ensure no one is forced to live in poverty. 
“I can’t see how anybody can think that it is okay to return the Jobseeker Payment to the old rate of $40 a day which will condemn unemployed Australians to poverty and will act as a barrier to employment. 

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Senate expresses support for survivors of child sexual abuse 

"I am pleased that the Senate has expressed its ongoing support for survivors of child sexual abuse. 
"When we have high profile child sexual abuse cases being discussed in the media it is more important than ever that we send a clear message of support for survivors.
"We must support and encourage survivors to keep coming forward.
"It’s important that the Parliament reiterates its support for survivors of child sexual abuse and commit itself to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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Reducing Jobseeker would be irresponsible

The Greens say the Government's plans to reduce the Jobseeker payment in September is reckless, unfair and fiscally irresponsible.

“To meet the OECD relative measure of poverty a fortnightly income of at least $1012 is needed, keeping Jobseeker at its current rate would ensure people were not living in poverty.

“How will people survive if they cannot even afford the basics like rent or groceries and how will our economy repair if people can’t spend?

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Flawed baseline study will undermine evaluation of Cashless Debit Card in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay (Hinkler region)

The Department of Social Services has just released a qualitative and quantitative study of the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay CDC trial which unfortunately are once again flawed and biased.

“It is incredibly frustrating that the Government has done the same thing as they did last time, using "perceptions" of the Cashless Debit Card in what they call their baselines study.

"These "findings" will be used in the evaluation of the trial.

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