The Payment Integrity Bill is another attempt by the Government to go after vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community, this time older Australians, migrants, people with a disability, jobseekers and students, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“Those that have lived in Australia periodically throughout their life may be affected by the changes. Some older Australians may now have to wait until they are 80 to access the aged pension because of the increased residency requirements. It is ridiculous that migrants now need at least ten years of continuous residency, five of which the claimant must have worked rather than been in receipt of an activity-tested income support payment.
“Older migrants are already a vulnerable cohort, they may have lower superannuation because of barriers like discriminatory hiring practices or not having their overseas qualifications recognised. Why punish them for seeking help in the past?
“Increasing the Liquid Assets Waiting Period for the unemployed, the sick, and students is cruel and unnecessary. It was already bad enough that those struggling and needing to access supports had to whittle down what money they did having, providing no buffer for the emergencies or large expenses that unexpectedly come up in life, now the Government is making this worse.
“The Government is also taking money from pensioners that go overseas for more than six weeks, this will hurt older migrants who may have to go back to their homeland for funerals or to care for loved ones. They’ve already had other supplements and allowances cut, it is time to leave them alone”.
The Australian Greens have dissented from the majority senate report into the payment integrity bill.