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Secret bill to hit families hard

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Rachel Siewert 10 Dec 2013

The Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013. Heard of it? We’re not surprised if you answered no. Under the guise of administrative changes, the Coalition Government are trying to rush through a raft of damaging changes to community services. Worse, the Labor Party is working with the Coalition to pass them!

They’ll hit many of the most vulnerable people in the community including low income families, students and Aboriginal communities.

Check out what the bill could mean for you or people you care about – and call a Senator in your state and tell them your concerns.

Pokies backflip

Australians lose $12 billion a year on the pokies. Last year, after a major public campaign by the Greens and significant community pressure; the Labor government introduced some modest but very important reforms to limit harms from poker machine addiction.

This week, Liberal Social Services Minister Kevin Andrew introduced a bill to wipe out all of those hard-won reforms, and the Labor Party helped him do it.

University student cuts

By converting crucial Start-Up Scholarships into loans, the Coalition government will increase the debt of 80,000 students by $1.2 billion. Student debt is skyrocketing and is projected to increase to over $50 billion by 2017.

Start Up Scholarships are used by students from regional areas and from disadvantaged backgrounds to help adjust to university life, pay for accommodation and course costs – the government should not be increase disincentives to study on these students by increasing their debt by up to 50%.

Childcare slug

The Coalition is trying to freeze the childcare rebate until 2017 and they want to have it rushed through the Senate.

Freezing the rebate will end up hurting 150,000 families a year by increasing their childcare payments. It will rip money from the pockets of hard working families around the country and the Greens will vote against it.

Hit to charities

Delaying the commencement of the Charities Act 2013 by nine months, from 1 January 2014 to 1 September 2014 will create more uncertainty for charities who work hard to serve, defend and promote the broader needs of our community.

The Charities Act provides, for the first time, a clear definition about what a charity is and the work they can do, making sure that important areas like advocacy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage, housing and disaster relief are clearly classed as charitable purposes. Clear definitions will reduce legal fees, make things easier for small organisations to operate, and allow organisations to plan for the future with certainty.

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