By Adam Carlton
Don’t be fooled by it. Announcement of the governments of an end to the Department of Human Services current crackdown of disability payments, does not mean that it has suddenly found a heart.
It came about because it found that it could only cut out a mere 2 percent and is therefore more effort than its worth.
But this hides that before this latest crackdown (2016 to now), only 40.6 percent of applicants were successful. The rest were forced into then lower paying Newstart and suffer the loops and constant scrutiny associated with it.
The number of DSP recipients has fallen dramatically. All new claimants under 35 must now be assessed by a department appointed doctor. This throws a question mark over their impartiality, and the ability of applicants to get a fair hearing, from someone whose income may depend on how many are excluded.
Being put on Newstart also brings the risk that people who are not adequately physically or mentally fit, will be put into dangerous situations through programs such as Work for the Dole. They also have a high chanced of ending up on the bottom of the payment scale, because their situation may not be stable, have high medical costs and are less able to navigate through the system. They could be left with as little as $38 a day to live on.
This is putting a vulnerable group of people into such a difficult situation that they are forced to work for wages and conditions that none would willingly accept. It is about creating a cheap labour force, and this to pressure down wages across the board. At a time when wage growth is already stagnant and a broad range of economists are saying this is harming the economy, it is the last thing we need.
The ending of the latest crackdown by he Department of Human Services does not change the direction. All it shows, is that those in the system have already been squeezed so hard, that there is little more that can be taken. It is a disgrace.