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Australian Greens dissent from committee report into Government plans to drug test income support recipients

The Australian Greens have dissented from the Community Affairs Legislation Committee report into the Government’s bill that would drug test Australians seeking access to income support. 

“I share the disappointment and dismay of the experts and community organisations at the reemergence of this plan to drug test Australians accessing our social safety net”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

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Bill Shorten should stop walking both sides of the fence and support an increase to Newstart

Bill Shorten and the Labor Party should dump their commitment to ‘review’ the woefully low rate of Newstart and instead commit to increasing it in their first term of Government if elected. 

“The rate of Newstart does not need to be ‘reviewed’, and the ALP knows this, if they don’t it shows how out of touch they are. It has been well established across the board that it is dangerously low and causing harm to jobseekers. 

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MPs who think they can survive off $40 a day should try living off it for a week

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has called on Federal MPs who think they could live off the $40 a day Newstart rate to give it a go. 

“I am glad there is a national discussion occurring about the woefully low payment that job seekers have to survive on whilst trying to find work. Julia Banks MP has claimed she could live off the payment rate of $40 a day, I urge her to put her money where her mouth is and give it a go for a week. 

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CDP hurting remote Australians, it is time the for the Minister to act

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has called on the Federal Government to urgently overhaul the Community Development Program (CDP) in light of more evidence that the program is hurting vulnerable people in remote communities.

“More and more people in remote communities, most of whom are Aboriginal, are being slugged with fines because the program if failing to meet their needs. This is having a dire impact on individuals, families and the whole community.

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Greens support broad alliance calling for increase to Newstart

The Australian Greens support the chorus of economists and social services groups calling for an increase to the woefully low Newstart payment.

“There is a growing consensus on the need for Newstart to be increased, ranging from economic and tax firms like Deloitte and KPMG to social service organisations. It is fantastic to see Access Economics' Chris Richardson lay out the need for an increase", Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"The payment needs to be increased by $75 a week. 

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Greens call for an increase to Newstart and Youth Allowance in Budget

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has today called on the Government to increase Newstart and Youth Allowance in the budget by $75 a week.

“We welcome Deloitte Access Economics’ support for an increase to the woefully low Newstart payment as part of their annual budget monitor.

“There is a growing consensus on the need for Newstart to be increased, ranging from economic and tax firms like Deloitte and KPMG to social service organisations. The payment needs to be increased by $75 a week.

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One off drug-users to be caught in Government’s plan to drug test income support recipients

A senate committee inquiry has revealed that jobseekers who smoke a single joint on the weekend could be put onto the cashless welfare card for two years if they are randomly tested when accessing income support. 

“A one-off decision by a jobseeker trying to access income support could now push them into further disadvantage as a result of being pushed onto paternalistic income management for two years, there is no merit to this approach.  

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Inquiry into drug testing income support recipients draws more condemnation from experts

Hearings into the Government’s proposed plan to drug test income support recipients have once again demonstrated an overwhelming opposition to the measure, with concerns including stigmatisation and increased crime rates. 

“Witnesses, including service deliverers, drug and alcohol experts and local Mayors and local Government officials have been very clear in their evidence outlining their concerns about drug testing income support recipients”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

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Personal information of income support recipients at risk with private company: Greens

While glad government has finally recognised that the call wait time is outrageous and is putting more staff on, it is very disappointing that these will be contract staff, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"Using a private company to reduce Centrelink call wait times holds serious privacy concerns, and staff should be hired within the public sector.

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