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Greens win support for most vulnerable and unemployed

The Australian Greens have successfully negotiated amendments to the Government's economic stimulus package that create a better safety net for those most vulnerable and the unemployed, whilst also creating 10,000 local green jobs.

"The Greens have focused our efforts on helping those who are hardest hit by the global financial crisis and preventative measures for those most at risk. This is why we have negotiated a $200m community fund to create new jobs in social services and local government and an extra $50m for emergency relief and financial counselling," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"We have improved this package and given it the heart it desperately needed.

"Residential aged care and at-home community care, housing and homelessness support services, family relationship services and family violence programs and youth support services can all apply for this extra funding."

"With some reports estimating an additional 300,000 Australians joining the unemployment queues in the coming 16 months, we must ensure that these ex-'working families', who through no fault of their own are losing their jobs, are adequately protected," said Senator Siewert.

"The Greens have also achieved a relaxation of the liquid assets test for unemployment benefits - from $2500 to $5000. This change will cushion the blow for those who are stood down as part of the expected downturn, making it easier for them to keep their homes and transition back into the workforce as the economy recovers."

"We have also secured a commitment from the Government for a raise in the pension in the May budget. This will come as a relief to thousands of pensioners who have been struggling by. The Greens have been campaigning for this for years."

"The government has heard our concerns about some low income earners missing out on the tax bonuses and is has committed to fixing this problem. These changes to one of Australia's biggest ever economic investments will go a long way to creating a supportive, well-resourced and adequately prepared society - one that we will need in the coming financial climate."

"We are pleased the Government has listened to the concerns of the community, and adopted these important Greens amendments," she concluded.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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