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Overwhelmingly evidence presented at ParentsNext inquiry called for urgent change to protect mothers and children

The senate inquiry into ParentsNext today heard repeated and insistent calls to make the program voluntary and abandon the punitive demerit point system that is causing many mothers huge distress and anxiety.

“The committee also heard that the program is not compatible with Human Rights, Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“In her opening statement, Professor Rosalind Croucher, President of the Human Rights Commission expressed grave concerns about the compulsory and punitive approach of ParentsNext saying the punitive compliance approach is unjustifiably harsh.

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New report shows punitive income support system directly impacting child poverty, Newstart increase more urgent than ever

The latest Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) report reveals the need for an urgent increase in Newstart.

"Our woefully low income support payment rates and punitive unemployment framework are having a direct impact on child poverty, Senator Rachel Siewert, spokesperson on Family and Community said today.

"The urgency of raising Newstart becomes more stark with report after report showing how inadequate Newstart is and the impact it is having on our community.

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Ex-pollies appointed to AAT to hear appeals related to income support doesn’t pass pub test

Liberal party mates such as former politicians and party affiliates appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal does not bode well for people appealing Centrelink decisions on income support.

“The way we have seen this Government go after people on income support is deeply disturbing, and as a result some people appeal to the AAT. Now the Government has appointed some of its Liberal mates to that very body” Senator Rachel Siewert said.  

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Cashless Debit Card: Poor quality, biased study presents opinions as evaluation

The Government has once again used poorly drawn, qualitative "research" to attempt to justify the cashless debit card roll out.

“It is incredibly frustrating that the Government has done the same thing as they did last time, using "perceptions" to evaluate these trials and presenting the "findings" as qualitative baseline data," Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“They have released a report of semi-structured qualitative interviews with only 64 of the 2995 people on the card in the Goldfields while 66 "stakeholders" were spoken with?

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First Nations peoples, homeless, disabled people, single parents most impacted by Government’s new Targeted Compliance Framework

Data tabled at estimates shows a stark increase in the number of people receiving financial penalties under the draconian targeted compliance framework introduced in July 2018 under the Government’s welfare reform measures.

“I asked for this updated data because I was deeply concerned about what this compliance framework would mean for people on income support. Unfortunately my fears for people on income support have been confirmed”, Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Estimates reveals AAT had a 42% increase in appeals over social security

Evidence provided at Estimates today has revealed that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has seen a significant increase in appeals relating to Centrelink including a:

• 77% increase in appeals relating to the Disabilty Support Pension (DSP)

• 41% increase in appeals relating to Newstart

• 34% increase in appeals relating to Youth Allowance 

There was also a 75% increase in appeals relating to the NDIS

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Senate Inquiry demonstrates Jobactive not fit for purpose – Greens call on Government to abolish TCF and Work for the Dole

The Australian Greens have provided additional comments to the inquiry into jobactive as while we are supportive of the Majority Report recommendations we believe that they do not go far enough in addressing the serious issues raised during the inquiry process. 

The Greens are calling for Work for the Dole and the Targeted Compliance Framework (TCF) to be abolished.

“This inquiry has overwhelmingly demonstrated that the jobactive system is not fit for purpose and is failing unemployed workers", Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Greens say if the Government really cared about parents they would suspend the ParentsNext program while they reassess their approach

The Greens want to see the ParentNext program suspended and the Government reassess their approach if they really care about supporting parents. Their comments come in the wake of reports that one in five parents, the majority of whom are women have been suspended or lost their payment in just the first six months of the rollout of the program.

“The latest figures showing the high number of parents and of course their children that have been suspended from payments is deeply concerning and should send a signal to Government that this program has very serious problems. 

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Bill Shorten must commit to abolishing compulsory income management Australia wide

The Greens are calling on Bill Shorten to commit to abandoning the cashless debit card trials Australia wide if they win Government this year.

“While it’s a positive development that Mr Shorten has finally realised that income management is a punitive approach with no evidence that it works, he must commit to abandoning all of the trial sites, Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services said.

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$350million ParentsNext Program must drop harsh compliance regime and focus on assisting families

The Australian Greens call on the Government to scrap the operation of the punitive targeted compliance framework in the ParentsNext program as complaints about the program grow.

“Parents are getting their payments suspended for things like missing appointments or activities because they have to take a child to a medical appointment and they are quitting units of study because they can’t miss an appointment or an “activity". 

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