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Scrapping Community Card Only Way To Equity

26 April 2001

Green MP Sue Bradford says while a meeting today didn't find a solution to short-term inequities, the Greens and the Government are in agreement that scrapping the Community Services Card is the long-term answer.

Green co-leaders failed to get the Prime Minister to raise the Community Services Card threshold for low income workers to equal that for superannuitants and beneficiaries.

"The Government won't budge on the threshold level and we have to live with that," said Ms Bradford. "I'm really upset but the Greens are not about to bring down the Government over this issue when the alternative - a National-Act coalition - has a disastrous track record in its treatment of beneficiaries and low income workers.

Ms Bradford said it was now up to Labour and Alliance MPs and members, and unions to keep putting pressure on the Government to remedy the inequity.

"The Greens will continue to put political pressure on, but we can't be the Government's conscience if they're not going to listen," she said. "It's up to Labour and the Alliance to show in the final budget what priority they place on support for low income people."

Ms Bradford said the new inequity highlighted the integral problems with a targeted benefit such as the Community Services Card.

"On the one hand it is true to say that no-one will be worse off today than they were yesterday - that's been the case all week. But what has happened is that the Government has created a new inequity, a new group of losers."

"Every time a new threshold is set, another group will lose out. The only way to overcome this inherent unequity of targeted benefits is to move to universality."

Ms Bradford said the Greens had been invited to be part of the consultation and review process, and would be pressing the Government to act as quickly as possible.

Ends


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