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Government must abandon cruel welfare changes

Aug 17, 2017, 10:09 AM by Maiy Azize

Anglicare Australia is calling on Parliament to reject the Government’s proposed welfare changes, which are due to be debated.

“Australians on low incomes are struggling to make ends meet. But instead of offering relief, the Government is scapegoating people in need,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“Anglicare Australia’s research shows that people are already competing for jobs that just aren’t there. Forcing people to spend their savings or take drug tests before they can get help won’t achieve anything,” Ms Chambers said.

Ms Chambers noted that a recent Senate Inquiry found that Centrelink was already struggling to communicate with people, and had a high error rate when recovering debt.

“Anyone who has had much to do with Centrelink will see the irony in the demerit system. Cuts to Centrelink and its staff have led to rampant mistakes to the point where nobody could have confidence in its accuracy when doling out ‘demerit points’.

“Why should we assume the worst of people trying to navigate their way through byzantine Centrelink procedures that its own staff can’t work out?

“The quest for savings through these measures is unethical, and the savings themselves are a mirage.

“There is plenty of evidence that cutting people’s income only leads to crisis – and the costs of providing emergency services to people in extreme need are far higher.”

Ms Chambers offered to host any representative of the Government, Opposition or crossbench to visit an Anglicare service.

“These changes will take a huge toll on the people who can least afford it.  We’re sure that anyone who sees that for themselves will reject them.”