INDEPENDENT NEWS

Greens call for community wage payments over XMas

Published: Fri 17 Dec 1999 10:02 AM
A request from the Green Party for people on the Community Wage scheme to retain their weekly $21 on top of their benefit over Christmas is being considered by Employment Minister Steve Maharey, the Greens say.
Green Employment spokesperson and new MP Sue Bradford met with Mr Maharey for the first time yesterday to discuss a range of employment initiatives.
Ms Bradford said the minister had indicated he would look into the Community Wage issue and get back to the Greens early next week.
"Community Wage beneficiaries should keep their $21 weekly payment during what is often a very financially stressful time for people on low incomes," Ms Bradford said.
"People in work get holiday pay and there is absolutely no reason why beneficiaries should be made to suffer at this time of year."
Ms Bradford also called on the minister to bring an immediate halt to the Community Wage - work for the dole - scheme.
She said she was encouraged to hear the Government would move to end it and hoped it was done urgently. But she was unhappy that the Government had rejected her calls for a Christmas bonus for beneficiaries.
Ms Bradford said she was also disappointed to learn the Government had no plans to reinstate the Emergency Unemployment Benefit for tertiary students over the summer holidays.
"Poverty is a huge problem for students over the holidays especially when there is so little work available for them," she said.
Ms Bradford said she was looking forward to establishing a productive working relationship with Mr Maharey.
"Our first meeting was very fruitful and I am looking forward to establishing a protocol for working further with the minister in the coming term," she said.
ends

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