Call to save the vulnerable from further cuts

ANYONE of us, at anytime, could be involved in an accident or suffer an illness resulting in a disability, says Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters.

Lisa Chesters

Lisa Chesters

Ms Chesters said during one of her recent 'Walk a Day in my shoes' visits she saw first-hand the challenges experienced by disability service workers and their clients.

"I know from meeting local people with a disability, their carers and support agencies what most are seeking is respect and support from their government to ensure they too can live a decent life," Ms Chesters said.

However, the first stage of a major federal government overhaul of welfare payments has suggested that only people with a permanent disability receive the Disability Support Pension and has flagged greater government control over how people spend their benefits.

The report  has also suggested that the system will be cut down from 75 payments and supplements to just four payment categories, covering a tiered working age payment, family payment, disability payment and the aged pension. 

Amicus executive officer Ann-Maree Davis told the Bendigo Advertiser on Monday proposed changes to the Disability Support Pension would have a significant impact on vulnerable members of the community.

"The cost of living with a disability in our community is higher so any reduction to current levels of income support will place extreme financial pressure on individuals and families who are already struggling," she said.

"There are other budget measures announced, like the GP co-payment, that if implemented will further compound the impact."

Ms Chesters said vulnerable Australians should not be subject to further cuts from the government after a "shocker budget".

"It is clear from this report that the government’s main goal is to shift people with disability onto a lower payment, and cut some people off from support entirely," she said.

"This is not a plan to help people into work – it is just a plan for cuts."


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