The legislation announced by the Government today will take money out of the pockets of average Australians who rely on a decent social safety net, said Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale.
“This grubby little deal between the Government, One Nation and Nick Xenophon’s senators will strip nearly $2 billion from the people who need it the most.
“Pauline Hanson says she represents battlers but at every opportunity she votes with the Government to take money away from families that are doing it tough and hand it over to corporate interests at the big end of town.
“I am especially disappointed in Nick Xenophon and his Senators. Nick says that he and his team represent average Australians but it’s those very people they’re helping to rip off with this legislation.
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said that the new Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill still cuts payments to struggling Australians and should be opposed.
“This is legislation by attrition. Plucking out a few cuts that Senators Xenophon and Hanson are willing to support then rolling them into a new bill is not a good way to try to make savings”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“The blanket freezing of indexation of family tax benefit payment rates is still a cut and means $5.5 billion will be taken away from Australian families over the medium term.
“Look at what happened with Newstart when it wasn’t indexed properly compared to pensions – it has now fallen in real terms to such a rate that we have a real crisis on our hands.
“Further, applying a new week wait to access payments for parents and some young people is unfair and cruel. The people writing these policies would have no idea just how damaging a week without any money can be for struggling parents and young people.
“Over future years people will not be able to earn as much whilst accessing income support payments because of a freeze to the income free areas. This is clearly a cut to those struggling on Newstart and other income support payments.
“Considering the recent Centrelink automated debt recovery debacle, it is pretty astounding they are seeking to automate the income stream review. The DHS does not have a good track record with automation and should not be pursuing this path.
“For the thousandth time, we can raise revenue by addressing such issues as negative gearing and capital gains tax, by closing tax loopholes for big business – not forcing parents and their children to wait a week for an income support payment. These measures are not justifiable and need to be dumped”.