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Labor and Greens blamed for welfare fine discount legislation

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has defended the government’s decision to halve fines for welfare recipients by blaming Labor and the Greens for the amendment.

He told Mark Levy the government’s hand was forced by the opposition and crossbench in order to pass their ‘fairer fines’ legislation.

“What happens in the Upper House, where we don’t control the numbers, is that Labor and the Greens move amendments to our bill.

“The Greens wanted an automatic 50 per cent reduction for welfare recipients.

“We eventually compromised and accepted a Labor amendment, which would be a discretionary reduction.”

Mr Speakman explained that discretion would be applied in “extreme” cases of hardship where other avenues, like the work and development order program or payment plans, have been exhausted.

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