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Senate Committee begins public scrutiny of Abbott's budget cuts

The Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee will today begin two days of public hearings into the legislation enacting the Government's budget cuts to our income support system and payments.

"The Committee is examining the two substantial Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bills, which deliver the Government's toughest and cruellest budget cuts, " Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.

"These bills punish job seekers, younger and older Australians, families, single parents and people living with a disability. They increase their risk of being exposed to poverty and disadvantage.

"Included in these bills are wide ranging cuts and changes to income support payments, earn and learn measures that dump young people off income support, cuts to the indexation of pensions, freezes on the rates of family payments and the subjecting of some people with disability aged under 35 to payment reassessments.

"People across the community have raised serious concerns about these budget measures and the next two days of public hearings will allow the Committee to speak to a range of witnesses about the impacts of this budget.

"This will provide an important opportunity for public consultation, something that Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey have shown little interest in as they have gone about trying to justify their cruel cuts to our social safety net.

"Mr Abbott and his Ministers cannot ignore the fact that their budget is deeply unpopular and that these measures will affect the most vulnerable people in our community," Senator Siewert concluded.

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