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Government recklessly purses tough budget measures

The Australian Greens said today that while the Government considers negotiations on family payment reforms, they are recklessly pursuing tough budget measures that target young jobseekers, despite the evidence of the harm they will cause and growing community opposition to the approach.

"While flagging the potential for negotiation on family payment reforms, Minister Kevin Andrews is stubbornly committed to denying jobseekers access to income support for six months at a time, or even longer in some cases," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.

"There is growing community concern about the mindset of a Federal Government that is willing to cut citizens adrift when they are in genuine need of support. Minister Andrews and the Government cannot continue to ignore this community concern as they try to deny job seekers income support for six months at a time, require them to look for 40 jobs per week and subject them to ineffective work for the dole regimes.

"The Senate Inquiry into the Government's budget cuts to social security has heard substantial evidence about the impacts of cuts on individuals and families. The cumulative effect of these budget measures was a recurring theme during the recent public hearings.

"Negotiation on family payments does not mean that parents and children will not be affected by the other cruel measures in this budget.

"The Minister needs to realise that this budget will have a significant, cumulative effect on many families, as any number of measures combine to reduce their access to income support and assistance.

"However the Government tries to spin this budget or negotiate its passage through the Senate, they cannot deny the reality that they are intent from squeezing savings out of disadvantaged Australians, rather than asking big miners and big business to pay their fair share," Senator Siewert concluded.


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