Greens Push for Income Support Inquiry
31 May 2012 at 12:20 pm
The Australian Greens have announced plans to move for a Senate inquiry into the adequacy of the income support system.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson for Family and Community Services says part of the terms of reference would include a focus on job-seekers and the adequacy of the Newstart Allowance and other social security payments.
“There have been widespread calls from community groups, business leaders and economists for the rate of Newstart and other allowances to be increased by $50 per week, in recognition that our income support system needs renewal,” Senator Siewert said.
After the Federal Budget, welfare peak body, Australian Council of Social Service, ACOSS, appealed to the Federal Government to reconsider its planned Budget cuts to single parent families and raise the payment for Newstart and other Allowance recipients.
“It was made clear to me during my recent week on Newstart that the current system makes it very hard to overcome barriers to employment and I think it is important that a Senate Inquiry now looks into this issue,” she said.
“An inquiry can help also establish whether the system is easy for people to understand and access and whether it facilitates or impedes transitions from unemployment or training to employment.
"Social security is a major part of our national expenditure and we need to make sure that it is delivering – by supporting those who cannot work and by helping those who can into secure jobs.
"At the moment, the statistics show us that people are being let down by the system and in many cases are being forced into poverty and debt, the unprecedented growth of insecure work in Australia makes this worse.
“I am hopeful that the Government and Coalition alike will recognise the need to investigate this issue,” the senator said.
Senator Siewert says she will move a motion during the week starting 18 June 2012 to refer this matter to the Senate Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for inquiry.