The Australian Greens said today that the Minister for Social Service is again trying to demonise people with disability by implying they simply opt to apply for the disability support payment because of the higher level of income support it provides.
"The Government is again seeking to stigmatise people who receive income support, especially the DSP, to help with their campaign to cut social security in a bid to save money," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on disabilities said today.
"The Minister knows very well that there are now high eligibility criteria for accessing DSP, and in addition, people have to prove that they have been looking for work for more than 18 months before they can apply for the payment.
"There is a huge difference between the DSP and the indecently low Newstart Allowance, and it is clear that the Minister wants to condemn people with disability to a payment that is well below the poverty line.
"People with disability have many barriers to work, including discrimination and a lack of adequate job services. Forcing them to live below the poverty line will create yet another barrier that makes work harder to find.
"It is concerning that people with an episodic illness will be significantly affected by being forced to live on Newstart, where they will have less money available to afford health care, proper amounts of food and daily living expenses.
"The excessive gap between the DSP and Newstart shows how low and inadequate allowance payments are and reiterates the fact that they need to be increased in order to help people live without being exposed to long term poverty and entrenched disadvantage," Senator Siewert concluded.