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Green Party proposes a carrot rather than stick

Green Party proposes a carrot rather than stick approach to welfare

This is a media release made by Kay Brereton an independent beneficiary advocate.

Ms Brereton a beneficiary advocate says: “I applaud the Green Party for proposing welfare policy which appears designed to help rather than punish people who need assistance. Far too often people tell me they “just don’t like going in there” (W&I office).”

“At the moment Case managers don’t have incentives to offer people, rather they have obligations to impose, these seem to be designed to punish a person for not having a full time job.”

“People feel threatened and vulnerable seeking help from an agency which begins your interaction by explaining the three pages of obligations you must obey so that your benefit is not reduced or stopped.”
“The first thing the system imposes when a person asks for help, is a one or two week stand down from any assistance, and it is likely to be weeks longer before they get any payment.”

“I support them creating the incentive for people to move into part time work by changing the abatement rates. At present, if you look at it in simply financial terms it’s hardly worth someone on a benefit taking part time work. But a change in the abatement rates combined with a change to the bottom tax rate, is the incentive needed and will support people into part time and casual work.”
“As more employers are offering part time and casual jobs this response is a needed policy partner for the movement to a living wage for full time employees.”

“This seems to me to be a package which recognises the precarious labour market,and sets a policy framework which would empower MSD to react supportively and responsively as people fill ‘short term market needs’, while also ensuring sufficient money for household needs; keeping families healthy, housed and fed.
I see people at the moment quite literally starving, and hungry people can’t work they’re not ‘productive’.”

“The benefit needs to be at a level which will meet people’s basic needs, they will still move into employment when the have the chance because they have ‘wants’, but people without employment must be treated with dignity by the system, and this policy could enable that.”

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