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Widening gap in Indigenous disadvantage symptomatic of a failing approach - Greens

The release today of a report showing that indicators of Indigenous social and economic disadvantage haven't improved and in some cases have got worse should be a strong signal to Government that the dictatorial, top-down approach taken by both the Howard and Rudd Governments simply isn't working and needs to change.

"Today's release of the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report is a sharp wake-up call for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today.

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Labor must listen to parents on junk food

The Australian Greens have urged the Rudd Government to follow the advice of parents and health groups and restrict junk food advertising aimed at children.

Greens Health Spokesperson, Western Australian Senator Rachel Siewert said that earlier this year the Government had refused to allow a vote in the Senate on a Greens’ Protecting Children from Junk Food Advertising (Broadcasting Amendment) Bill which would have banned junk food advertising during children’s peak television viewing times and restricted junk food advertising in schools.

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No reason behind public health education & research cuts

"Cutting the Public Health Education and Research Program (PHERP) was clearly a short-sighted, penny-pinching measure -which will ultimately cost us because of poorer public health outcomes in the longer term," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

Evidence to Senate Estimates late yesterday indicated that cutting PHERP was purely a cost-saving measure that did not reflect the performance of the program or any review of research and education needs.

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Single parents must not be left behind

The Australian Greens today called for the Government to include single parents in the pension increases foreshadowed for the Budget.

"If the Rudd Budget duds single parents, the Greens will take the Government on in the Senate," said Australian Greens spokesperson on Community Affairs, Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The Government's line that they are ‘robbing the rich to pay the poor' is in reality a very selective Robin Hood approach, with some of the people most in need missing out entirely.

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Time to help parents, not punish them

Punitive approaches to managing truancy in the Northern Territory will not solve the problem because they fail to address underlying causes, say the Australian Greens.

"It's time the NT government stop trying to shift the blame and got serious about addressing the problems in schools in the NT, especially in remote Aboriginal communities," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

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Greens urge O-week students to enrol for student payments

Tens of thousands of WA university students returning to study in the next fortnight will be able to qualify for a $950 Government Training and Learning Bonus, thanks to an extended deadline negotiated by the Australian Greens.

“Under Kevin Rudd’s original plan for the $42 billion economic stimulus package, only those students who had enrolled by 3 February could qualify for the $950 bonus,” Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“However, as a result of the Greens’ negotiations in the Senate this deadline has been extended to 31 March.”

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Time for a real revolution in Aboriginal education and employment: Greens

The Australian Greens today called for a renewed push in Aboriginal education and employment.

"We have a huge inequality in this country - one that we should be ashamed of. The gap in literacy and employment rates remain huge and opportunities taken for granted by most Australians are non-existent for Aboriginal Australians," said Australian Greens Aboriginal issues spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

The Greens expressed support for Professor Mick Dodson's strong statements on the state of Aboriginal education, at his National Press Club address yesterday.

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Time for a different approach to school truancy: Greens

The Australian Greens today called on Federal Minister Jenny Macklin to cancel punitive truancy welfare trials in the Northern Territory, following indications that the Western Australian Government might not go ahead with trials in selected suburbs of Perth.

"I welcome WA Child Protection Minister Robyn McSweeney's comments this week that her Government would not support the trial because they are concerned it could increase crime and leave children hungry," Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Greens welcome WA Government’s cooling on truancy trials

The Australian Greens today welcomed signs that the Western Australian Government may not implement a punitive Federal Government truancy trial in Perth schools.
“The program, which has been widely criticised by teacher’s unions and welfare groups, allows Centrelink to halt payments to parents whose children fail to attend school for 13 weeks,” Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“Such a punitive program fails to address the underlying causes of non-attendance and only further undermines families in need of support.

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