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New target for welfare cuts: families & pensioners.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Wayne Swan MP (Member for Lilley)

Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

 

New Target for Welfare Cuts: Families & Pensioners

 

Families and pensioners face the prospect of having their payments slashed under harsh new proposals b eing floated by the Howard Government and new legislation being debated in Parliament this coming week.

 

Today’s Courier Mail detailed contentious plans by the government to cut payments to families with children between 12 and 16 , and an extension of ‘mutual obligation’ and work for the dole targeting disabled people and men over 55 (see attached).

 

In addition to the radical new plans, there are two Bills currently before Federal Parliament that stand to strip almost $60 million dollars from the pockets of pensioners.

 

The harsh new measures, given little publicity from the government, will hit pensioners particularly hard with;

 

• penalties of up to $400 per year for pensioners who give financial assistance or gifts to family members and loved ones, and

 

• changes forcing pensioners completely off benefits for up to one year if they are involved in serious accidents which result in compensation for pain and suffering.

 

The Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, Wayne Swan, said the government’s radical new agenda was more about callous cost cutting rather than reforming the welfare system.

 

“Under the cloak of ‘mutual obligation’ Senator Newman will be trying to achieve deeper cuts to the family benefits and the pension in a desperate attempt to halt the growth in the numbers of families receiving parenting payment and the surge in disability support pensioners.

 

“Senator Newman has only one objective here — to cut the social security budget.

 

“She will pretend that extending mutual obligation is ‘reform’ but if she was really serious about helping disability pensioners and parents get back to work she would not have abolished all of the programs that existed to help them do precisely that.

 

“Make no mistake, this government does not care about the plight of families, the elderly, and the disabled — it just wants to make budget savings, regardless of the human cost. It has not been prepared to make the investment in skilling people to get them off benefits — so it’s just going to cut the value of benefits. Poverty and increased welfare dependency will be the only result, proving this is a government that is weak in controlling the strong and strong in controlling the weak.”

 

ENDS

Saturday 25 Sep 99

 

Contact: Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329 

Matt Linden on 0414 953 525

 

[Attachment to hard copy:

“Welfare payment cuts loom”

Courier Mail Saturday 25 September 1999

[1p.]

Held in DPL’s Information Files]

 

dd  1999-09-28  09:35