|2014, Marching against what would become "zombie" cuts today|
Again the statistic, this is now the 8th time in just three years the gov has launched an assault particularly on the unemployed and those of us on the Disability Support Pension, as well as pretty much anyone else on any other kind of welfare support.
We had Abbott and Bishop railing against us this week, Abbott making light of what are very serious conditions. Believe me, the depression I have suffered, unless I keep up the counseling and the anti-sad pills, is life threatening. I very nearly didn't make it through 2009. Nobody wants to top themselves, but in the depths of despair, that can sometimes appear the only way out. And Abbott called that "a bit of depression". FFS.
And if that wasn't enough to show how completely without compassion and empathy this gov is, the biggest problem is that they haven't let go of the 2014 budget. Remember that disaster? I marched in protest three times over that through the middle of Sydney. The cuts ended up as trash all over the senate floor as all parties opposed them. Yet those 2014 budget cuts are still in the "forward estimates" as budget savings, and they're still trying now three years later to get them through.
Like the month long wait for the dole, etc. They're still trying to pass it. They've been dubbed the "zombie" cuts as they're dead.
ACOSS today urged the Federal Government to halt relentless attacks on people on low incomes, and use next week’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) to chart a fair and realistic Budget reform path and abandon $7 billion of harsh ‘zombie’ social security cuts that have already been rejected by Parliament.
“Low-income families, people struggling to find a job, and anyone who relies on social security payments to survive, need certainty in the Budget as much as business and the ratings agencies do. It is unacceptable for Government to continue its attacks on low income people, holding over their heads the threat of large cuts to their incomes, as it has since May 2014,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
“Labor, the Greens and crossbench Senators, including the Nick Xenophon Team have unequivocally ruled out the harshest budget cuts, including the cruel proposal to impose a five-week wait for young people to receive unemployment benefits, the abolition of the $6 a week Energy Supplement for families on the lowest incomes, and severe cuts to family payments which would reduce the income of a single parent with two teenage children by $60 a week.
“In just the last week, we have seen a host of media stories – some involving Cabinet Ministers and a former Prime Minister – blaming unemployment on ‘bludging’, and trivialising serious disabilities including depression and back pain.
“Proposals to impose more penalties on unemployed people, who already have to search for up to 20 jobs a month and attend regular interviews with Centrelink and Jobactive providers and participate in Work for the Dole, show a lack of understanding of how tough the job market – and Centrelink rules – are for people already.
“People on low incomes and unemployed should not be treated as easy targets. Our budget challenges are not because of a so-called ‘welfare blowout’. Social security for people who are unemployed accounts for less than 3% of the Budget and its share is projected to decline in future years. Last year, there were just 29 prosecutions for serious social security fraud.”
“The Government cannot legitimately keep booking savings year after year when they are unlikely to pass. It’s time to rule a line under the failed 2014 Budget strategy. ACOSS