Settlement Services International (SSI) has joined calls from ACOSS and others in the community sector for the Senate to vote against a bill that will make migrants wait up to four years to access social security.
The amended bill before the Senate will impose a four-year wait to access Newstart, hurting people most in need. It will also, for the first time, impose a one-year wait to access Family Tax Benefit Part A, which is a crucial payment for low-income families, including families without paid work and families on the minimum wage trying to give their children the best start in life.
Violet Roumeliotis, SSI CEO, said the proposed cuts would hurt already vulnerable communities at a time they needed support the most.
“Investing in new arrivals and offering support to vulnerable communities has been a key determinant of our success as a multicultural nation, contributing to social cohesion. There is no justification for cutting off support for people, including children and families, who are in financial need,” she said.
“In our experience, the great majority of migrant families hit the ground running and are keen to work and contribute but we do need a reasonable safety net for people.”
SSI urges Labor to join the Greens, Centre Alliance and Tim Storer in opposing the bill in the Senate, to protect people from falling further into poverty.