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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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Government should consider delaying rollout of new Jobseeker Payment as Centrelink workload will increase with COVID-19 response roll out

From March 20, 2020 Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Wife Pension, Bereavement Allowance and Widow B Pension will cease and most recipients of these payments will transition to Jobseeker Payment, Age Pension or Carer Payment.
 
“I am very concerned that the Centrelink system will be under additional strain as casual workers are forced to self-isolate and will be applying for either an emergency payment, Newstart or the former sickness payment," Senator Rachel Siewert said. 
 

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Estimates reveals only 28 people have been successfully exempted from Cashless Debit card out of 859 applications

Only 28 people have had their applications to be exempted from the cashless debit card approved out of a total of 859 applications.
 
“These applications were only processed in the two weeks before Estimates, despite the exemption process officially being in place since July 2019 although not operational until sometime after that.
 
“Why has it take the Department so long to start processing these applications and can the remaining hundreds of people expect to hear soon about their application?
 

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Services Australia refuses to tell Estimates how many robodebts are impacted by income averaging

“Questions to Services Australia in Estimates this evening have made it clear that there is no justice in sight for victims of the Government’s illegal robodebt program,” Senator Rachel Siewert said.
 
“The Government using the on-going legal case over illegal Robodebts to refuse to release details of the process for reassessment of income averaging is outrageous.

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Lack of sick leave a coronavirus ‘ticking time bomb’, stimulus payments needed: Greens

Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP and Greens Community Services spokesperson Rachel Siewert have called on the government to extend the Disaster Recovery Allowance to those affected by the coronavirus, especially those without sick leave.

The Greens have also called for any government stimulus to be targeted to support low-income Australians, support coronavirus resilience and be a more effective response to the threat of recession.

Lines from Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt MP:

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