Greens Stop ‘Grab-Bag of Social Sector Cuts’
5 December 2013 at 3:58 pm
Plans by the Federal Coalition Government to push significant changes on Social Services legislation through the Senate without scrutiny have been stopped by the Australian Greens, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says.
The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013, which included amendments to areas including NDIS, NDIS, Family Tax Benefit, Parenting Payment, Age Pension, Youth Allowance, Gambling Reforms, income management on Cape York and Child Care, has now been referred to a Committee Inquiry after Senator Siewert’s last minute motion was passed in the Senate.
"The Government wanted to push these significant changes through the Senate without any scrutiny. This Bill contains a range of measures on income support, income management, gambling, student loans, and the child care rebate that need to be carefully reviewed," Senator Siewert, the Australian Greens spokesperson on families and community services, said.
"The Greens sought to have this Bill examined by a Senate Committee Inquiry to report by February next year, unfortunately the Government and Opposition have combined to restrict the inquiry process to a week.
"As a result of the Greens' motion passing the Senate, various measures contained in this Bill will now be examined by the Education and Employment, Community Affairs and Finance & Public Administration Legislation Committees.
"The fact that this legislations falls under the purview of three Senate Committees shows that it is a grab-bag of cuts, administrative and policy changes.
"This Bill will repeal the position and functions of the National Gambling Regulator, continue income management in Cape York, change the rules for people accessing pensions overseas and allow interest charges to be applied to some income support debts. It will also change some eligibility criteria to family tax benefit part A for parents whose children are finishing school and will freeze the indexation of child care rebate.
"This is a patchwork collection of legislation. It is poor management on the part of the Government to throw together a raft of administrative, policy and payment alterations into one piece of legislation and try to push it through the Senate without the opportunity to hear from the community about the impacts of this Bill.
"I am glad the Senate has seen sense and supported our motion.”