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COVID-19 (coronavirus)

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Now is the time for employment providers to take a supportive role 

"It’s been clear for years now that employment services are not fit for purpose and do not meet the needs of Jobseekers. 
"The Government failed to adequately address a system that was clearly in crisis following the 2019 Senate inquiry that overwhelmingly demonstrated that the jobactive system is failing unemployed workers. 
"Centrelink and job providers play a critical role in millions of peoples’ lives and more people than ever are relying on our social safety net during this crisis. 

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Centrelink puts out advice saying people on DSP shouldn’t swap to the now higher Jobseeker payment 

The Greens say Government advice released today saying that people on DSP should not change to the now higher Jobseeker payment indicates exactly why DSP and Carer payments need to be increased. 
"People receiving the Disability Support Pension are facing additional and unforeseen costs for transport, food deliveries, healthcare, medical supplies and personal protective equipment during the coronavirus crisis. 

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Going after vulnerable people on income support has cost us all so much

The Greens say it will be almost impossible to account for the social and economic costs of the Government's punitive Robodebt program. 

“This program has literally cost people's lives, ruined many many more and caused so much pain and anguish. 

“I am pleased that it looks like the Government will have to compensate victims of the illegal Robodebt scheme but nothing can truly compensate people for the distress this has caused. 

“I raised this issue in the Senate on Monday and as late as yesterday people were telling me they were still being contacted about debts. 

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Government must suspend mutual obligations and reporting requirements for the long term

Government must use a common sense approach to Centrelink and suspend reporting requirements and mutual obligations for people already on Centrelink until COVID-19 crisis has passed
The Greens say the Government must use common sense and suspend the requirement for people on income support payments to report their income every fortnight and complete mutual obligations while the system is so overburdened during the COVID-19 crisis. 

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Massive expansion to Coronavirus Supplement after Greens pressure causes Government backflip

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:

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Jobseeker increase welcomed but untenable to drop people back to old rate in 6 months

"The Government has finally listened to the community and all those living in poverty who have been crying out for an increase to Newstart for years and years now.

"It shouldn’t have taken a crisis like this to show compassion and increase the Jobseeker payment.

"An increase to the jobseeker payment must be long term and permanent. It is absolutely untenable to drop people back onto $40 a day once this crisis period has passed.

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Close the Gap Day and COVID-19

COVID-19 has the potential to cause severe harm to First Nations communities particularly in regional and remote areas, older Australians, disabled people and people with mental health issues.

“Preventing and slowing the spread of the virus to First Nations communities must be a priority given that First Nations communities already suffer higher rates of chronic and respiratory illness than the general population,” Senator Rachel Siewert, spokesperson on First Nations issues said.

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