Dianah Mieglich

As we head towards 2050 and beyond, our society will be faced with many challenges.

Climate change, food security, equality, justice, health and welfare challenges are but a few. Here I share my thoughts and observations about many current and continuing issues. I would be pleased to receive your feedback and I invite you to join me in the conversations.

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Centrelink Income Support - is it really enough? Are regional families more disadvantaged?

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I am inviting you to join me in a conversation

 

 

Let me start by stating that I believe that Regional, Rural & Remote Students and Job Seekers are at a disadvantage

 

and that Centrelink Income Support Payments are not sufficient to survive on.

 

Who agrees?

 

Who disagrees?

 

Who would like to share their experience?

 

This conversation started with a phone call I received from a concerned mother yesterday, she lives in in regional South Australia. 

 

She told me that her son didn’t eat yesterday because he could not afford to. 

 

Sadly, he is not alone.

 

About her son:

 

1.      Young man, not an academic, but very clever in the practical sense

2.      Staying on at school in a ‘traditional’ education environment not for him

3.      He secured an apprenticeship in Adelaide – good on him - We need tradespeople!

4.      Applied to Centrelink for income support

5.      It was determined he does not meet the criteria to receive Centrelink’s Independent rate of Youth Allowance

6.      Reason: has not been able to secure work of at least 15 hours per week over 2 years

7.      Why: No jobs in his town.  Labour Market severely depressed.  Not his doing.

8.      Parents income is considered to be average by current definition but too high for him to qualify for Youth Allowance as a dependent.

9.      Parents, without any assistance and at significant personal financial burden, secured accommodation, pay rent, assist with cost of living and still he goes without food!

 

Country and regional youth are highly disadvantaged if they are required to move away from home to study, undertake an apprenticeship or other form of vocational training.

 

The costs associated with regional families assisting their children to move away in order to study/work are more than just financial. 

 

The emotional and psychological impacts are as equally concerning and very real.

 

I am aware that the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has passed a Bill,Social Security Amendment (Supporting More Australians into Work) Bill 2013 [Provisions]. 

 

This Bill  received assent in August 2012 and while the mediocre changes are welcomed this has not gone far enough.

 

Increases to the rates of income support payments are critical to lifting many Australians out of poverty and giving them a real chance a securing and holding down paid work.

 

In reading the background to the Bill I was alarmed to read that Coalition Senators did not do not agree with findings in the Majority Report. 

 

This is an excerpt:

 

COALITION SENATORS' ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

 

1.1        Coalition Senators do not agree with finding in the Majority Report that the base rate of Newstart Allowance can be increased given the current economic climate.

 

1.2        Coalition Senators commend to the Government the recommendations contained in the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References Committee Report on the adequacy of Newstart Allowance and other matters.[1] Coalition Senators note the References Committee's finding that scarce resources should be targeted at programs that assist payment recipients to transition to independence. This is because the best form of welfare is a job.

 

For further reading I encourage you to go to:

 

http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/senate_committees?url=eet_ctte/completed_inquiries/2010-13/social_security_2013/report/index.htm

 

I am, however, happy to report that the Greens’ additional comments were more detailed and in support of an increase.

 

So...Does that mean both of our major parties believe that the current level of income support is adequate???  Surely not.?

 

Again I applaud ACOSS and SACOSS for their continued fight and lobbying for increases in the rate of Centrelink Income Support Payments. 

 

If South Australians back 'A Partnership with Purpose' at this year’s Federal Election we too will advocate for an immediate increase in the rates of income support.

 

I find it very distressing that the Government has found/will find ‘savings’ to support a cruel and punitive measure to process asylum seekers off shore (and spend millions on advertising this policy shift) but are not willing to support some of the most disadvantaged in our community in an effort to move them from welfare to work. 

 

After all, when you work, you pay taxes and can contribute to our society and to our economy on so many levels. 

 

More importantly we will have a new generation of role models who can model a positive work ethic and be productive and proud to participate in our communities.

 

Your thoughts?

 

DM 

 

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A proud South Australian, Dianah is family and community focused. She has a strong work ethic and commits fully to any role she undertakes – whether it is in a paid or voluntary capacity.
Dianah is an excellent communicator, an empathetic listener and is known for her ability to grasp a sense of the ‘bigger picture’ in her work, family and community life.

With 30 years of grassroots public and community service under her belt Dianah is ready to take her passion for her community as far as she can. Following an unsuccessful Senate bid in 2013 Dianah is now focussing on the future and continued advocacy for her regional community.
Dianah spent four-and-a-half years (2009 - 2013) as Assistant to Independent Member for Frome Geoff Brock MP. This has inspired and motivated her to continue in public service in a voluntary capacity. Among other employment, Dianah has worked for Centrelink, Social Security and Regional Development Australia Yorke & Mid North and is passionate about volunteering. Her children are third generation CFS Cadets. Dianah is currently self employed.

Embracing change, Dianah is an ardent advocate for regional communities, a proud Republican and a staunch supporter of legalising Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp. Dianah is also a keen supporter of the State's seafood industry and all facets of primary production.
Dianah's mantra is "Without our environment we have no economy." Dianah believes securing our food and water into the future is not something we should hope for but rather something we should strive for.
Dianah shares a global view.

Comments

  • Deb Keleher
    Deb Keleher Monday, 22 July 2013

    Hmm, I have worked for Job network agencies and while I fully understand that Centrelink is not in the business of making money but are in fact handing out taxpayers money, I also understand the need for financial support to those whose circumstances leave them in a position of not being able to fully financially support themselves and for parents to see some of their taxpaying going towards the assistance and support of their own children.
    I could say that when I was young there was not the assistance there for us like there is today - but then there were the jobs and leaving one's rural and family environment to live and work many miles away in unfamiliar surroundings and knowing no one was a personal or career choice and not one based purely on need. This is no longer the case by far and I feel the Governments are dragging their feet in relation to this.
    The immediate expenses of moving to the city to live because of work or study or to look for work are horrendous and beyond most medium to low income parents means and there is no support. The criteria to access Centrelink support is sometimes a cause for much stress in itself.

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  • Guest
    Jen Monday, 22 July 2013

    My son works as an apprentice and for 12 months he has given his whole to his job. Over the year his gross wage is $14,500 he is expected to pay rent, utilities fuel and eat. We as land holders which is unsaleable for the last 4 years have too many assets so he doesn't qualify for rent assistance from the government until he has been living and work independently for 18months. Our kids need the help in the first few years when they are struggling to earn enough to live on. Our children don't have to opportunity to live at home and be supported by their parents, to have every chance of being a wage yearning Australian most must move to the city. It makes me irrate when I hear the government spend millions on advertisement on policy change.

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