The Australian Democrats say legislation pushed through the Senate today will result in less financial help for thousands of carers across Australia.
"This miserly measure is outrageous penny pinching from a Government at a time when they are swimming in a multi-billion dollar surplus of taxpayers’ money," Queensland Democrat Senator, Andrew Bartlett, said.
"Carers provide an essential service, yet receive little assistance or recognition. There is no justification for this new measure, which will mean new claimants of the Carers Allowance will have their ability to claim back payments severely limited," Senator Bartlett said.
"Removing backdating provisions does not make sense. It is simply unnecessary, unfair and unreasonable."
"Many people whose children require extra care often spend many months getting diagnoses or needs assessments before they appreciated that they are facing long-term caring obligations. Many are also unaware of the existence of Carers Allowance."
"To take away this limited piece of extra help for carers is a slap in the face. The measure is estimated to affect over 40 000 new claimants each year, who will lose up to $1900."
"How can the Government justify tearing money away from cares at a time when we have billions of dollars in surplus? This certainly puts a question mark over the Government’s stated commitment to carers and it effectively undoes some of the positive gains made in this area."
"According to figures supplied by the Department of Family and Community Services, the saving from this measure will be just over $30 million per year, which is less than half the amount the Government spent promoting its industrial relations policy. The Government is happy to spend taxpayers’ money promoting their own policies but are cutting support to people providing an essential community service."
"This is a group of people who deserve all the assistance available to them. Their work is often long-term and greatly reduces the burden on the public purse in terms of service provision for those most in need. They deserve much better treatment than this," Senator Bartlett concluded.