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Welfare cop more harsh approach from uncaring Abbott government

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said the Abbott government is deliberately trying to smear all income support recipients with this latest ‘tough cop on the beat' approach to welfare.

"Appointing a senior police officer to target welfare fraud implies that the problems with the system are all related to deliberate fraud rather than administrative errors resulting from a complex and unwieldy system that leads to the majority of overpayments or in fact underpayments," said Senator Siewert said.

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Relationship counselling scheme should be abandoned

The Australian Greens said today that the underwhelming response to the Government's relationship counselling voucher scheme is a clear sign that it should be abandoned.

"The low number of people applying for vouchers under the Government's scheme is the obvious outcome of an ideologically-driven policy," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.

"This is the result of a Minister driving an agenda that does not meet the needs of our community.

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Government resorts to bullying community organisations

The Australian Greens said today that Alan Tudge's attack on Australia's peak community organisation is yet another sign of the Government's desperation to justify their cruel policy agenda.

"There is a significant difference between emergency relief and income support payments which are paid to millions of Australians," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said.

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Government should address discrimination against people with disability, not punish them

The Australian Greens said today that information provided to Senate Estimates shows that employment discrimination against people with disability remains a serious issue, and that instead of punishing people with disability the Government should be addressing this discrimination.

"The Australian Human Rights Commission said in Senate Estimates that 33% of complaints made under the Disability Discrimination Act relate to employment," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on disability issues said today.

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Greens call for justice target and reversal of cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander funding

The Australian Greens said today that the Productivity Commission's report Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage should send a clear signal to the Federal Government that they must reverse their budget cuts and put in place a justice target.

"Tony Abbott said he was the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, but he has cut over half a billion dollars from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander funding," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues said today.

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Effective, equal support needed for older jobseekers

The Australian Greens said today that the Government needs to work to address possible flaws in its Restart program and expand its approach to genuinely help older jobseekers into work.

"There are more than 204,000 older Australians on Newstart, meaning they are living below the poverty line for extended periods of time. Living in poverty erodes a person's capacity to work and had long term health and mental health impacts," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.

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Greens introduce new legislation to help single parents

The Australian Greens have introduced a new bill in the Senate to boost income support payments to single parents.

The Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Caring for Single Parents) Bill 2014 would see single parents remain eligible for parenting payments until their youngest child turns 16, rather than the current limit of 8 imposed by the Howard Government's Welfare to Work regime in 2006, and widened by the former ALP Government. It will also ensure employees who are carers have the right to request flexible working arrangements.

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Federal Budget wouldn't stand up to families test

The Australian Greens said today that the Federal Government's budget would not stand up to a ‘families test', given its tough measures that would disproportionately target single parents and low income households.

"Since May, the budget has not stood up to any level of scrutiny and in fact hurts the disadvantaged the most. Its flaws would be clearly exposed by a families test or impact statement, as has been introduced in the UK," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services.

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Tougher requirements for DPS recipients will put work further out of reach

The Australian Greens said today that a proposed toughening of compliance and participation requirements for Disability Support Pension recipients could have significant adverse consequences for people with disability.

"It is very concerning that the Government is considering extending tough compliance and participation measures for people with disability. Taking this compliance driven approach to people with significant barriers to employment is flawed and could lead to a loss of income support," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens disabilities spokesperson said today.

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