Over successive budgets, the federal government has committed to slashing the number of successful claimants for the disability support pension (DSP), as part of strict “welfare-to-work” reforms. These policies aim to reduce spending and welfare dependence by forcing thousands of disadvantaged Australians into work via Newstart’s punitive system of mutual obligations and minimal income.
One of these people is Quang Huynh, a 30-year-old man from Dandenong, who relies solely on Newstart payments and family support to manage his health. Huynh is a type 2 diabetic with serious heart, liver and kidney conditions. He also experiences difficulty walking, due to visual impairment from diabetic retinopathy, which has left him virtually blind in his left eye. Routinely in and out of hospital, he also attends a heart failure clinic on a tri-monthly basis, as well as regular renal and diabetic outpatient clinics.