Yesterday Minister Porter described the proposed welfare overhaul as ‘revolutionary’ and then went on to talk about the same old paternalistic approaches that do nothing but further entrench poverty, Greens Senator RacheL Siewert said today.
“Minister Porter obviously doesn't understand the fundamental problem that people accessing Newstart as well as other payments are living below the poverty line and far below the minimum wage. For instance, if you’re a single person accessing Newstart and the maximum rate of rent assistance, you are still below half the minimum wage.
“The Minister honed in on those just on Newstart and suggested that most people on Newstart are okay because they may receive another payment. However the fact is you can have several payments and still be incredibly vulnerable and struggling, you are most likely to be below the poverty line and far below the minimum wage. Despite the Minister suggesting otherwise, all of these payments, no matter what combination, are likely to keep you in poverty.
“Suggestions by Minister Porter that school truancy could be linked to docking income support payments shows the Government is pursuing the same-old-same-old approach. Linking truancy to Newstart is a very blunt and ineffective tool to address the complex problem of children who are being failed by our education system. Analysis of previous attempts has shown them to be ineffective. So much for a revolutionary approach.
“Minister Porter also emphasised that the overhaul of how we deliver income support would be evidence based. The evidence shows that cutting essential payments for food and shelter will not be effective in keeping kids in school in the long run.
“We need to move past ideological and paternalistic policies to income support that simply do not work. We need a revolutionary approach, this is not it”.