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Memo to Kevin Andrews: Look behind you.

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Media Release

Penny Wong

Labor Senator for South Australia Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility

23 September 2005


Employment Kevin Andrews faces continued internal dissent over his incompetent changes to welfare, Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said today.

This morning, Victorian Liberal Senator Judith Troeth echoed Labor’s concerns about the impact of changes on people in regional areas, and National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce admitted the Coalition joint party room is not happy.

These comments come on top of calls by back-benchers Michael Ferguson and Judi Moylan for the changes to be reconsidered.

“Kevin Andrews likes to pretend his changes will be harmless, but they will deliver extreme cuts to the family budgets of Australians who can least afford it,” Senator Wong said.

“Independent research has shown that if they are able to get fifteen hours work, people with a disability will be $120 a week worse off while they work for as little as $2.27 an hour. Sole parents will be $90 a week worse off while they work for as little as $3.88 an hour.

“Senator Troeth is right to be concerned about the impact on Australians in regional areas.

“What happens to a single parent in a country town, when the nearest job is in the next town?

“What happens when a person with a disability in a remote area has no jobs to apply for? Do they get breached and lose their welfare payments altogether?

“The extent of the Howard Government’s incompetence is proven by the fact that while the principle of welfare reform has strong support across the community, their proposed changes have been completely discredited.

“These changes are so incompetent that they actually reduce the financial reward from working, because the Howard Government will claw back more of every dollar welfare recipients earn.”

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