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Thursday, 7 December 2017
Page: 10154

Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (18:46): The government does not support the Greens' amendments. While the government understands the concerns of the Greens in relation to bereavement allowance, we do not believe that those issues are rectified by these amendments.

The bill represents the most comprehensive reform of Australia's working-age welfare payments in decades. The current income support system of multiple payments is very complex and difficult for people to navigate. The new jobseeker payment will be the main working-age payment, consolidating the current seven payments and creating a single payment for those of working age with the capacity to work now or in the near future. The jobseeker payment will simplify the income support system and treat people in similar circumstances consistently.

The Greens' opposition to schedule 4 is unfortunate because, under the jobseeker payment, those who are bereaved will receive significant up-front payments which would enable them to meet some of their expenses early. The proposed amendments to schedules 3, 5 and 6 will add to the complexity of the system rather than simplifying the already complex arrangements.