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Disability Support Pension changes will entrench poverty

The Australian Greens have responded with anger to Minister Kevin Andrews comments that he will implement a disability crackdown.

"Yesterday it's the old age pension, today it's the disability support pension that is being clamped down on by the Government," said Senator Siewert, Australian Greens Spokesperson on disabilities.

"Minister Andrews is determined to make things worse for our most vulnerable community members with his reassessment schemes and his two tiered system.

"It is mean and sneaky of the Government, waiting until the Easter long weekend to make these announcements. Is it hoping to avoid proper scrutiny of its plans?

"The biggest challenge for people on DSP in finding suitable employment is not their meagre disability pension payments, as Minister Andrews suggests, but rather reduced job services, workplace discrimination and a lack of flexible working conditions.

"At least there will be some jobs created by this scheme - unfortunately, they will be jobs for doctors performing reassessments rather than jobs for people with a disability.

"The current system of taper rates already facilitates re-entry in to the workforce. We do not need a two-tier system, which is effectively just pushing more people on to the unemployment benefit which is currently $140 a week less than DSP.

"This isn't about helping people with disability, it is about saving the Government money by dumping more people on to Newstart

"What Minister Andrew is proposing is to create a vicious cycle where those with the best prospects of re-employment are plunged into poverty which actually prevents people from getting work.

"We need to fix our employment services, tackle employer attitudes and legislate flexible working conditions if we want to actually help people into work, rather than just save a few dollars at the expense of our most vulnerable community members," concluded Senator Siewert.


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