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Friday, 15 November 2002
Page: 6512

Senator NETTLE (12:10 PM) —I want to put on record that the Australian Greens will also be supporting the splitting of this bill that has been proposed by the Australian Labor Party. We will be doing so because we would like to facilitate the passage of what we believe to be the good parts of this bill—that is, the support for the working tax credit that we have heard others talk about in the chamber. We would also like to see the passage of the supplement for language literacy and numeracy, although we believe the supplement as currently proposed is inadequate and does not go to the same extent to address the real training concerns of unemployed people that we would see through a genuine government commitment to vocational education and training in this country. We also would like to see the personal support program facilitated through the parliament, because we recognise the support that it provides for particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors within the community.

We do not support the mutual obligation regime as currently put forward by the government and we do not support its extension to sole parents and mature age unemployed people. Whilst not supporting the mutual obligation regime put forward by the government, we are disappointed that they do not seem to be committed to implementing the Pearce recommendations that seek to reduce the impact of breaching for unemployed people. Certainly, having worked in the community sector with young people and their families and seeing the impact of the government's breaching regime for some time now, I am certainly very well aware of the impact that it has on the ability of disadvantaged families to provide for the basic needs of their family. For those reasons, we do not support any extension of the mutual obligation and the breaching regime to sole parents and mature age students, and continue to not support the current mutual obligation and breaching regime that exists for other unemployed individuals not in those two categories.