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PaTH program is resulting in suspended payments and exploitation

The coalition suspending payments of 1300 young people seeking income support because they did not take part in the first compulsory stage of the Governments PaTH program shows that a cruel and paternalistic approach to the social safety net persists. 

“PaTH was pitched as this amazing voluntary measure that would help young people get jobs and instead 1300 young people have had their payments suspended, which could result in homelessness and hunger”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

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Government flatly refusing to suspend the drug-testing trial in Logan shows supreme arrogance: Greens

News that the Mayor for Logan travelled to Canberra on Monday to request that the Federal Government suspend drug testing trials in the region, and that request has been refused, shows supreme arrogance by both the Minister for Human Services and the Minister for Social Services.

“There has been such limited community consultation that not even the Mayor for Logan knew that the Government would be trialling drug testing of income support recipients in his region until he saw it in the media”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Turnbull, this is not about 'practical love', it's about control

"Malcolm Turnbull's claims that the further rollout of the cashless welfare card is about 'practical love' is nonsense, this is about control", Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.  

"The card quarantines the income of people accessing a working age payment in the trial areas, that includes the Carers Payment, Disability Support Pension, Youth Allowance and Newstart. 

"It takes agency from those who live on a shoestring budget who need to carefully manage their income. 

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Goldfields now largest trial site for Cashless Welfare Card

The announcement by the Prime Minister today confirming that the Goldfields will be the next trial site for the cashless welfare card is extremely disappointing. It imposes income management on people on income support in the region, taking control and agency. 

“I am concerned about the impacts this will have on people in the Goldfields community, particularly those on a working age payment who are on a shoestring budget and cannot afford to have their income quarantined against their will" Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

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Australian Greens welcome letter from doctors, nurses and advocates opposing drug testing income support recipients

The Australian Greens welcome a letter from nearly a thousand doctors, nurses and health advocates calling on the Turnbull Government to dump plans to drug test income support recipients, with resources instead directed to treatment and wrap around services. 

“This letter confirms what we have been hearing from health professionals and advocates already – that the proposed measure is going to do more harm than good and will hurt those struggling with addiction”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

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McGowan Government should stand up to drug testing trial in Mandurah: Greens

Premier Mark McGowan should follow in the footsteps of the Labor Victorian Government and refuse to cooperate with the Turnbull Government's plan to drug test income support recipients in WA. 

"Drug testing income support recipients has been proved overseas to be an expensive and unsuccessful measure. Drug testing will demonise and isolate people struggling with drug addiction and has been overwhelmingly rejected by experts on drug and alcohol addiction", Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.  

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Drug testing in Canterbury-Bankstown will demonise and isolate people struggling with addiction

Drug testing members of the community in Canterbury-Bankstown who are trying to access income support demonises and isolates the people they target and could further entrench poverty, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Drug testing people trying to access income support recipients is designed more to appeal to the Turnbull Government’s conservative base than actually address the issue of drug addiction.

“Overseas experience shows that it is a very costly and ineffective measure that does not reduce addiction.

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Crimes have significantly increased in Kununurra since the cashless welfare card was introduced: Australian Greens

Crimes statistics indicate a significant increase in robbery and threatening behaviour in Kununurra since the cashless welfare card trial was introduced in the community, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.   

“In figures provided by the WA police we have seen a marked increase in non-aggravated robbery offences, theft, and threatening behaviour in the period that the card was introduced.

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Catholic Church would rather cling to freedom of religion than protect children; recommendations of the Royal Commission report must be heeded

Senior members of the Catholic Church signalling they would oppose priests being forced to reveal cases of child sexual abuse admitted during confession shows an astounding disregard for child safety and for the rights of survivors of abuse.

“How disgusting to prioritise a ‘fundamental part of freedom of religion’ over ensuring the safety of children”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today.

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Coalition and ALP vote against increase to woefully low income support payments

The Senate has today voted against an increase to the woefully low Newstart and Youth Allowance payments by $110 a fortnight.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the Senate did not support my Bill to increase Newstart by $110 a fortnight. It is well recognised that the payment is too low”, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“I’m also very frustrated that the Labor party today sided with the Government to vote against an increase of the woefully low and stagnated Newstart and Youth Allowance payments by $110 fortnight.   

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