Illawarra Legal Centre youth law advocate Georgina Pike is ‘’angry’’ young people are being ‘’unfairly targeted’’ by a Federal Government ‘out of touch’ with their real needs.
Her ‘’dismay’’ comes on the back of the Omnibus Welfare Bill successfully passing through the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Ms Pike joined the National Union of Students (NUS) in expressing outrage at a bill they say will have detrimental outcomes for the most vulnerable in society.
She said one of the measures in the bill would see students forced to wait five weeks to access Youth Allowance payments.
‘’In passing the laws…..the Federal Government has demonstrated that they are completely out of touch with the real needs of young people,’’ Ms Pike said.
She added it was ‘’unethical and cruel’’ to punish young people in areas such as the Illawarra where youth unemployment was consistently higher than the national average.
‘’What we know is that the jobs that are there are often casual and insecure. And after the decision by the Fair Work Commission [scrapping penalty rates], those who are in jobs will have to survive on less pay,’’ Ms Pike said.
‘’Young people are being unfairly targeted by this new law. This decision will push more and more vulnerable young people into relying on overstretched crisis community services.’’
Social Services Minister Christian Porter said ‘’the passage of the Omnibus Bill through the House represents the necessary step to further negotiation in the Senate to secure major child care reform to make child care more affordable and more available for Australian families balancing work and raising children’’.
He said the government has proposed reasonable and responsible welfare savings proposals to fund the $1.6 billion child care package.
But the NUS said a $1 billion cut to the Energy Supplement currently received by many low-income recipients of Centrelink payments, was far from ‘’reasonable’’.
NUS president Sophie Johnston and welfare officer Jill Molloy plan to make submissions into the Omnibus Bill senate inquiry.
Ms Pike joined the NUS in calling on Australian senators, including Nick Xenophon and Jackie Lambie to reject the bill.