A Budget that “works for everyone” must pull First Nations people out of poverty trap, not allow cashless card expansion

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MEDIA RELEASE: A Budget that “works for everyone” must pull First Nations people out of poverty trap, not expand cashless cards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

5 April 2019

Change the Record welcomes Labor’s commitment to increase support for NDIS, safe housing for women escaping violence and a living wage, but is disheartened that the Budget Reply leaves behind First Nations people experiencing poverty.

“The additional support for family violence and the NDIS is much-needed, but we have to make sure our people have equal access to the NDIS,” said Damian Griffis, co-chair of Change the Record.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are more likely to be in poverty and not to have a home. We know poverty is driving up the numbers of our mob in prison, and people with disability should not be housed in prisons.”

“We have launched a petition calling on both leaders to address poverty to free our future. We know strong supports and fair laws will see real progress towards freeing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and ending mass-incarceration,” said Cheryl Axleby, co-chair of Change the Record.

“Labor are forgetting about people struggling to make ends meet, and did not announce an increase to Newstart or plans to scrap ParentsNext. Further, Labor allowed a huge expansion of cashless cards to go through.”

Labor’s amendments will see the cashless card become opt-out, however thousands more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will have their income controlled and freedoms curtailed by governments. Indigenous and human rights organisations have opposed the expansion of the cashless cards.

“Cashless cards with opt-out are still discriminatory and fly in the face of self-determination for our communities,” said Mr Griffis.

“Everyone has a right to food on the table and a roof over their heads without being punished for living on their homelands. Evidence shows the cashless card does not work. Strong community-run supports will pull people out of poverty and end mass incarceration.”

Earlier this week, Change the Record condemned the Federal Government’s Budget, demanding that the Government stays committed to the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program, funds family violence supports and stops punishing people struggling to make ends meet.
For media comment please contact Roxanne Moore, Change the Record Principal Advisor, at 0409 711 061 or roxanne@changetherecord.org.au 

Change the Record has launched “Free Our Future: Don’t Punish Poverty”, a petition to end mass-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by fixing laws and policies that punish people living poverty.
www.changetherecord.org.au

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