The Australian Greens said today that Andrew Forrest's proposals for reforming the nation's income support system are punitive, will disempower people, entrench disadvantage and should be rejected immediately by Government.
"Ramping up income management and withholding all cash from 2.5 million people is a deeply alarming suggestion and the Government needs to reject it completely," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.
"The idea that all working age income support recipients would have their payments withheld is beyond excessive and cannot be justified. It is no wonder the Government hasn't released this nonsense earlier.
"If reports are accurate, Mr Forrest's recommendations are highly punitive and reflect the top-down policy approach of the past that has consistently failed to deliver meaningful results.
"Such thinking reflect Mr Forrest's lack of understanding of the lives, realities and drivers of disadvantage and casts a long shadow over other recommendations he makes.
"Taking control away from people over even the basic decision making in their lives is disempowering and will make them more 'welfare dependent' and far less job ready.
"Extending income management to 2.5 million people would also be incredibly expensive to implement and administer.
"The Government is sitting on the latest evaluation of income management, that report needs to be released immediately.
"To address poverty and disadvantage, the Government should be investing in better employment services and training opportunities and ensuring that income support payments are adequate and provide the assistance people need to live without being exposed to poverty," Senator Siewert concluded.