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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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Changes to mutual obligations make no sense and are cruel and mean spirited

The Greens say the Government’s proposed changes to mutual obligations miss the point. Many people on Newstart don’t have or are unable to afford the infrastructure to just “go online”.

"The changes to mutual obligations are not good enough, people can request online interviews and meetings but that doesn’t account for people who don’t have or just can’t afford the infrastructure to enable this.

"People on Newstart (now Jobseeker payment) are living on $40 a day. How can the government be sure they have access to a home computer and the internet at home?

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Greens repeat calls for Newstart changes to be delayed until Centrelink is fit for purpose

The Greens have repeated their calls for the Government to delay changes to Newstart and the Sickness Allowance in the face of the COVID-19 crisis saying that Centrelink lacks the resources to adequately deal with the changes and the increased workload resulting from the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
 
From tomorrow, Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Wife Pension, Bereavement Allowance and Widow B Pension are set to cease and most recipients of these payments will transition to Jobseeker Payment, Age Pension or Carer Payment.

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Greens call on Treasurer to support the not-for-profit and community sector

The Australian Greens have written to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, calling for a $2 billion investment in the not-for-profit and community sector as Australia faces the continuing health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Quotes attributable to Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson for Family, Ageing and Community Services:

“If not-for-profits and community organisations are forced to close, disabled and vulnerable people will have nowhere to turn. It is critical that they are supported.

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Mutual obligations for all people receiving income support must be immediately suspended

The Greens have repeated their calls for the Government to suspend the mutual obligation responsibilities of people on Centrelink payments that have such requirements, including those on Work for the Dole, CDP and the ParentsNext program.
 
“Fear of having their payment suspended or losing their payment will mean that people could make decisions that are counter to their health or other peoples," Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said. 

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Greens call on Government to include not-for-profit organisations in stimulus package

The Greens have called the Government’s failure to include not-for profits in the stimulus package reckless.
 
“Not-for-profit’s provide some of the most important services in our community including childcare, disability, community and aged care services and they can’t access the small business stimulus payments,” Senator Rachel Siewert said.
 

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Stimulus package has significant holes that leave people on low incomes vulnerable

The Greens say that the Government’s response to supporting people on low incomes and income support is piecemeal and will leave vulnerable people behind. 
 
"I’m deeply concerned about families on Newstart with children and parents on parenting payment single - there is no additional payment for children in the stimulus package which will seriously hurt these families. There needs to be an additional payment for each child," Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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