Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters MP has today spoke in Parliament against the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill is a cruel attack on job seekers and those on welfare payments.
The Liberal Government Bill currently being debated in the House of Representatives includes harsh work for the dole restrictions, the stopping of back dating payments and the introduction of drug testing requirements for those beginning new applications of Newstart and Youth Allowance.
“These draconian measures punish people who are looking for work,” said Ms Chesters
“The proposals the Liberal Government puts forward in this Bill make it harder for job seekers and do nothing to actually help people find jobs.
In the speech to Parliament Ms Chesters highlighted the fact that the current Jobactive caseload in the Bendigo region is just over 5800 people.
"The crisis is that there just aren't enough local jobs. Less than 400 jobs for close to 6000 job seekers. This is a jobs crisis.
“The truth is the Federal Liberal Government is failing to create jobs and training opportunities for Central Victorians and forcing them to participate in failing jobs programs.
“The Bill includes harsh drug testing requirements which are especially unfair in regional areas such as Bendigo where we lack support and rehabilitation facilities.
“I fear that vulnerable people will be pushed into poverty and homelessness if their payments are simply cut off.
“I believe in mutual obligation requirements but the Government is the other side of this partnership. They have to take responsibility for their role – they need to create jobs and provide opportunities before they begin cutting people off welfare payments.
In her speech, Ms Chesters condemned the Liberal Government for its failure to create jobs and for this draconian Welfare Reform Bill.
“This is a cruel and harsh attack on vulnerable people in our community and in its current form, Labor opposes this Bill,” said Ms Chesters.