As Parliament returns this week, the Senate will be voting on the Welfare Reform Bill, which will apply stricter conditions and harsher penalties for non-compliance to people receiving Centrelink payments. The proposed changes are sweeping, and the Government has estimated that at least 80,000 people will lose income support payments if the changes are adopted. We have prepared a thorough brief on the Bill and it’s implications.
As reported in The Guardian (Coalition warned welfare overhaul could worsen homelessness) CHP and homelessness peak bodies in other states, have serious concerns about the impact these proposed changes will have on our existing clients, and also fear a large number of new people will be pushed to homelessness who would previously have been able to cope unassisted.
This increase in homelessness, and the increase in the hardship of people experiencing homelessness is likely to reverberate throughout homelessness services, who will have more clients, deal with more complexity, and unfortunately, will be forced to turn more people away.
The only way to stop this Bill is to get the crossbench to vote against it. One Nation support it, as do others on the crossbench. The final decision rests with the Nick Xenophon Team.
Please consider calling or emailing the Nick Xenophon Team politicians to appeal to them to oppose the Bill (see contact details below).
If passed, this Bill will:
- abolish back pay for Newstart and Youth Allowance, meaning recipients will receive no income whilst waiting for Centrelink to process their application (often a period of weeks)
- remove ‘Intent to Claim’ income support for people in crisis (fleeing family violence, in hospital, post-natural disaster or experiencing homelessness), which, among other things will discourage women from leaving family violence
- make it harder for people who use drugs or alcohol to keep receiving income support, including if they relapse whilst getting treatment
- cut people off payments for up to four weeks under a harsher compliance scheme for jobseekers which will see job service providers given greater power
- cut the Bereavement Allowance, reducing the income for people who’ve lost a loved one
If you are concerned about any of the above proposals, please consider taking the time to SEND AN EMAIL TO THE NICK XENOPHON TEAM
Or, send your own email to the Nick Xenophon Team:
Rex Patrick: Senator.Patrick@aph.gov.au or call (02) 6277 3785
Stirling Griff: Senator.Griff@aph.gov.au or call (02) 6277 3128
Rebekha Sharkie: Rebekha.Sharkie.MP@aph.gov.au or call (02) 6277 2113