Thursday, 16 August 2007
Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Payment Reform) Bill 2007; Northern Territory National Emergency Response Bill 2007; Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Northern Territory National Emergency Response and Other Measures) Bill 2007; Appropriation (Northern Territory National Emergency Response) Bill (No. 1) 2007-2008; Appropriation (Northern Territory National Emergency Response) Bill (No. 2) 2007-2008
The Greens oppose schedules 1 to 3 as follows:
Schedules 1 to 3, page 7 (line 2) to page 111 (line 7), TO BE OPPOSED.
This essentially covers all of the substantive areas of the bill. I have some questions for the minister around a number of the provisions that we have not explored yet. Regarding CDEP, I think we have established fairly well, both in the chamber and in the inquiry process, that, though the numbers vary, there are about 7,000 people on Community Development Employment Projects who will be moved to income support or Work for the Dole. As I understand it, and there is some dispute over the figures, there are around 2,000 to 2,500 real jobs. I want to know what will be done to assist those approximately 4,000 to 5,000 people who are moving from CDEP to income support not only to find jobs but also to address the gap in income, because, as we identified during the inquiry, there will be a decrease by approximately $76 million in CDEP from the DEWR budget. According to an answer to a question I asked on notice, around $46.9 million is being put into income support. That is a difference of around $30 million that is coming directly out of the pockets of Aboriginal people in these areas. I would like to know how that issue is being addressed, because that is a fairly substantial amount of money.