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Massive expansion to Coronavirus Supplement after Greens pressure causes Government backflip

Media Release
Adam Bandt 23 Mar 2020

More than 250,000 Australians will have an extra $550 a fortnight to get through the Coronavirus crisis, after the Greens pushed the government to extend a crucial supplementary payment that had omitted Australia’s students.

Following questioning from Senator Rachel Siewert and Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Matthias Cormann said the government would now immediately regulate to make Abstudy, Austudy, and Youth Allowance (Student) eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement.

Lines from Adam Bandt MP, Leader of the Australian Greens:

“We successfully pushed the government over recent weeks to lift Newstart, extend the stimulus package to the not-for-profit sector, and now to include students in the Coronavirus supplement.

“Students whose casual shifts have dried up were in real strife. The government’s package left too many people behind. The Greens have kept the pressure on the government, and delivered for people doing it tough.”

Lines from Mehreen Faruqi, Australian Greens Education Spokesperson:

“When students and the Greens fight together, they win. We’ve won recognition that, at a time when students are losing work and their studies are up in the air, they are absolutely deserve of the same support as anyone else.

"We’ll keep fighting to protect students throughout this crisis, including for an increase to rent assistance and better access to mental health services."

Lines from Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Social Services Spokesperson:

“It took a lot of questioning and pressure to get the government to give students this basic dignity, and to realise the negative impact their approach would have had on young people. This victory shows the importance of holding the government to account, even when they’re adamant that they will not budge.

“This isn’t over. We need to make sure people on disability support pension and carer allowance will also see a raise in this time of crisis. 

Tonight, Matthias Cormann admitted the Minister has the power to extent the Coronavirus Supplement to people on those payments. If they don’t, it will be a shocking act of cruelty to vulnerable people during one of the worst crises Australia has ever faced.”

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