Tuesday, 1 December 2020
Pensions and Benefits
That the Senate—
(a) acknowledges that the Productivity Commission's report into mental health has been released, providing a suite of recommended reforms to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Australians;
(b) notes that the Productivity Commission found that people receiving income-support are more than three times as likely to have depression than wage earners, and face additional barriers to finding meaningful work;
(c) also notes that the Productivity Commission has acknowledged the distress and aggravation of mental ill-health caused by strict mutual obligation requirements for people receiving income-support payments;
(d) further notes that we have witnessed over 250,112 payment suspensions since mutual obligations were reinstated after the COVID-19 suspension, causing distress for thousands of people; and
(e) calls on the Government to permanently increase the JobSeeker Payment; abolish the Targeted Compliance Framework; and reform the employment services system and mutual obligations.
The government has shown considerable flexibility in adjusting mutual obligation requirements in response to the impact of COVID-19. In return for an income support payment, jobseekers must take responsibility for meeting all of their mutual obligation requirements. The government recognises this continues to be a challenging time for those looking for work and encourages jobseekers to access the full range of assistance available to them, including access to skills training, assistance for other work preparation activities and referral to relevant support services, including mental health services, if required. The government remains committed to mutual obligation requirements for jobseekers as well as to ensuring Australians remain connected to the workforce.