Saturday, 30 April 2011

Kiwis stuck in one-way welfare street....

THEY may have fought alongside Australians at Gallipoli but Kiwis who decide to call this country home are not deemed worthy of government benefits.
This means that 19-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Hannah Campbell, who has lived in Australia for five years, has been refused financial assistance to attend day care - even though her father, Dave, has been working as a Toowoomba bus driver and paying Australian taxes.
New Zealanders living here believe this amounts to racial discrimination. This claim has been acknowledged by Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission, which has ordered the Queensland government to enter mediation with Ms Campbell and her family. Significantly for the Campbells, the hearing was scheduled for the Anzac Day public holiday.
Advertisement: Story continues below
The Howard government blocked New Zealanders from receiving social security benefits a decade ago in an attempt to end backdoor immigration of Pacific Islanders and Hong Kong migrants moving to Australia via New Zealand.
Under the Commonwealth Social Security Act, only permanent Australian residents are eligible for welfare including the dole, youth allowance and sickness benefits.
But New Zealanders do not fit the definition of Australian resident, because they do not need a permanent visa to live in Australia under the travel agreement permitting free movement between the countries.
''We're entitled to live here permanently but we have less rights than everyone else,'' Kiwi rights campaigner David Faulkner said.
''You should get social security because you're human being living and working and paying taxes in Australia.''
The anomaly was highlighted by the recent spate of natural disasters. New Zealanders living in Queensland were ruled ineligible for the one-off disaster relief payments, until uproar across the Tasman forced the Australian government to hastily approve ex gratia payments for these victims. ''It was a Band-Aid solution for a systemic problem,'' Mr Faulkner said.
Two hundred thousand New Zealanders have moved to Australia in the past 10 years, and Mr Faulkner says that up to half of them have been denied welfare. Kiwis find it particularly galling, given that Australians who move to New Zealand are eligible for benefits there.
Ms Campbell, who requires 24-hour care, moved to Toowoomba from Rotorua with her parents in March 2006. When her mother, Glenda, applied to Centrelink for the disability support pension, she was told they had to be living in Australia for two years. But when she applied again after that time she was told they did not qualify because they were New Zealanders.
''I was absolutely surprised,'' she said. ''I thought, 'My goodness. We are Anzacs when all's said and done.' I would expect I would have got the services I needed for Hannah.''
It means the Campbells can only afford to send Hannah to day care for two days a week, instead of the five days they would prefer.
''If she [was] able to go five days, it would definitely take the pressure off,'' Mrs Campbell said.

Read more:

1 comment:

  1. What don't you new zealanders understand about the fact you are "foreigners" in this country. Would you expect the same welfare handouts in the USA? No. Research what your entitlements are before you move here and stop whining..