No support for Turnbull’s unfair cuts

Opinion 2The Coalition’s unfair Omnibus Bill has been slammed by the community sector, women’s groups and early childhood educators during the Senate Committee Inquiry.

There is absolutely no support for Mr Turnbull’s unfair cuts to families, pensioners, new mums, people with disability and young jobseekers.

For the first time, the Department of Social Services (DSS) has revealed that the number of Age Pensioners and Newstart recipients who will lose the Energy Supplement. Around 403,000 age pensioners, 472,000 people on Newstart and around 200,000 Youth Allowance recipients will no longer have access to the supplement by 2020.

All up, 1.7 million Australians will eventually lose the Energy Supplement.

For pensioners this will be a cut of $14.10 per fortnight to single pensioners or $365 a year. Couple pensioners will be $21.20 a fortnight worse off or around $550 a year worse off.

DSS also admitted that no distributional analysis has been done on the Turnbull Government’s cuts to Family Tax Benefits – cuts that will affect around 1.5 million families.

Did Christian Porter even consider the financial situation of the families these cuts will hurt before he introduced them into Parliament?

DSS also admitted that around 587,000 families on the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit will be worse off by at least $200 per child.

Malcolm Turnbull should take his unfair cuts to vulnerable Australians out of the Parliament and out of the Budget, for good.

Graham Perrett MP, Federal Member for Moreton

Queenslanders facing legal black hole

dath-agThe Palaszczuk Government has called on the Turnbull Government to reverse its $2 million cuts to vital community legal services which help vulnerable people across Queensland seek justice.

State Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath (pictured) said the Federal Government’s cuts to Community Legal Centres would stop some Queenslanders being able to access free legal help.

“These funding cuts could force Community Legal Centres, such as the Caxton Legal Centre, to reduce its services, close branch offices and telephone advice lines, and sack staff,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“I urge the Federal Government to reverse the funding cuts and invest in community legal centres, including Caxton Legal Centre, to ensure residents get the legal help they need.”

Mrs D’Ath said the Caxton Legal Centre helped the community’s most vulnerable people who could not afford a lawyer and were not eligible for government legal aid.

“Caxton Legal Centre helps people with a wide range of legal problems, including family violence, relationship breakdowns and family law, debt, consumer problems, tenancy disputes, and employment issues,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“These people are among the most disadvantaged in our communities and we need to support them as much as possible and think about how much we can help them.

“The Palaszczuk Government recognises how important these centres are and it would be devastating if we were to lose this vital service.”

Under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance, national funding for Community Legal Centres will be slashed from $42.2 million in 2016-17 to $30.1 million in 2017-18. Queensland’s share will be cut by $2 million – from $8.9 million in 2015-16 to $6.9 million in 2017-18.

Community Legal Centres Queensland Director, James Farrell, said $2 million was a relatively small amount in the context of the Federal Budget but that this funding cut would mean thousands of people would miss out on legal help.

“Last year Queensland Community Legal Centres provided help to almost 60,000 people but tens of thousands more were locked out, because of chronic under funding,” Mr Farrell said.

“These federal funding cuts will just make it harder for Queenslanders to get legal help.”
Caxton Legal Centre Director, Scott McDougall, said their service harnessed the expertise of about 200 volunteer lawyers and daytime staff to deliver almost 10,000 legal advices every year.

“Timely and effective legal assistance can turn around a vulnerable person’s life,” he said.

“We are greatly concerned about the consequences of the looming funding cuts on our ability to help people in desperate need of family, domestic violence, child protection and employment law advice.”