Newstart is not a crime! Do not punish vulnerable Australians for accessing welfare
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We, the concerned voters of Australia, reject the Government's proposed Welfare Reform Bill.
The bill seeks to undermine our welfare safety net, by:
- Ceasing benefits for up to four weeks under a harsher compliance system, increasing homelessness and severe financial hardship. This could affect 80,000 families.
- Scrapping back-pay, reducing the amount of money people applying for income support receive in their first payment, denying income for people when they really need it. This also incentives further staffing cuts to Centrelink, as longer processing times will result in less money being paid to those who are eligible
-making it harder for people who use drugs or alcohol to keep receiving income support, including if they relapse whilst getting treatment, increasing the likelihood that people will fall out of the system.
If this bill is not stopped, we will see higher rates of people entering the criminal justice system as they are forced to break the law to survive, either through dealing drugs or by stealing money and/or goods from others. We will also see higher rates of homelessness, domestic violence and children placed at risk as vulnerable families are unable to survive without a welfare safety net.
This bill does little to recoup money from the welfare budget, which is, contrary to government spin, relatively affordable, and does nothing to address long-term unemployment, as countless studies have shown punitive methods have little success.
Young people, rural and regional people, and marginalised groups such as those from CALD backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those with mental illness or substance abuse issues will be the hardest affected. If the government wanted to save money, there are plenty of ways to do it that will not have the potentially disastrous consequences of this Bill.
Vote no for the Welfare Reform Bill. Do not let this government undermine one of the central pillars of our social health and welfare system.
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