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Support not punishment for welfare system

The report released yesterday by the Mental Health Council of Australia, Let's Get to Work, is further confirmation of the wrong-headed and damaging approach of the Government's Welfare to Work laws.

"As with many of the Government's policies, welfare to work is not grounded in the evidence of what actually works to assist people with disabilities, including mental illness, into work, but rather is an ideological assault on some of the most vulnerable in our society," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The report finds that the punitive welfare to work laws are actually having a damaging effect on people with a mental illness, that the Job Capacity Assessment process is fundamentally flawed and that people with a mental illness who do want to work have become reluctant to seek work for fear of losing their income support."

"As the report notes, at this time of labour shortages, we need to be assisting and encouraging people into the workforce not subjecting them to an arbitrary and unfair system."

"The Greens welcome the report and the considered strategies for a better approach to supporting people with a mental illness. In particular, we believe we need a long-term commitment from government to provide genuine, sustainable reform targeted clearly at developing skills and addressing barriers to employment and work force needs."

"The Greens support the call from the Mental Health Council of Australia for a coherent, comprehensive and national disability employment strategy," Senator Siewert concluded.

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