INDEPENDENT NEWS

Minister Scrambling For Spin Control

Published: Wed 11 Oct 2006 04:13 PM
Minister Scrambling For Spin Control Over Quarter Billion Dollar Debt
Heather Roy Wednesday, 11 October 2006
Press Releases - Social Welfare
ACT Social Services Spokesman, Heather Roy, is astounded that the government is defending a quarter of a billion dollars in debt owed to taxpayers by beneficiaries.
"After making me wait a month for answers to my Parliamentary Questions, the Minister of Social Development and Employment, David Benson-Pope, is desperately scrambling for spin control", Mrs Roy said.
"Unfortunately, it is disingenuous for the Minister to say that the amount of debt incurred each year is decreasing, when the totals from the Sickness Benefit, Unemployment Benefit, Invalids' Benefit and Domestic Purposes Benefit that he has given me show that debt last year still rose by more than $4.7 million.
"If the Minister has any real data proving a reduction in benefit debt, I would invite him to release it.
"If his Government was really doing such a good job, why does the Minister objecting to me releasing what are, after all, his own figures?
"A more honest Government would be open with the public and have told us already.
"What we now know is that many sole parents who have migrated to Australia fail to pay child support, while their former partners left at home need to borrow money from the State to make ends meet.
"We need to make sure that our welfare system meets the needs of people in real hardship, and punishes those who just seek to take advantage of taxpayers", Mrs Roy said.
ENDS

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