The Australian Greens said today that the Government's meagre changes to Newstart and parenting payments in tomorrow's budget are nothing more than a face saving exercise.
"This small change to the income free area of Newstart is all about the Government saving face as they refuse to deliver the $50 per week increase that people struggling on Newstart desperately need," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on families and community services said today.
"Changing the income free area and taking some small steps for single parents in no way makes up for the mindless austerity campaign the Government has undertaken.
"Last year, the Governments cuts to single parents were all about delivering a surplus. They've abandoned the surplus, and now they've again abandoned single parents and job seekers by not helping people struggling more than $130 per week below the poverty line.
"This small increase to the income free area for Newstart effectively delivers people one extra hour of work per week. This does not address the significant barriers to employment people are facing, particularly if they've been stuck on Newstart and in poverty for months or years.
"Neither this change nor measures relating to the pensioner concession card and pensioner education supplements will not take effect until next year. That is far too late for those single parents who have had to give up study for this year because of the payment cuts they've faced.
"Vulnerable members of our community are being made to pay for the fact the Government will not stand up to the mining industry and raise the revenue needed to care for people," Senator Siewert concluded.