TITAN
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
NEWS  |  General, Leadership, Opinion, Politics

Failing Welfare System Highlights Need for Reform: Greens


Monday, 15th August 2011 at 5:21 pm
Staff Reporter
A sharp increase in the number of people being turned away from community support services highlights the need for substantive reforms to Australia’s social security system according to the Australian Greens.


Monday, 15th August 2011
at 5:21 pm
Staff Reporter


0 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
Failing Welfare System Highlights Need for Reform: Greens
Monday, 15th August 2011 at 5:21 pm
Green Senator Rachel Siewert.  
Photo: Ryan Witcombe 

A sharp increase in the number of people being turned away from community support services highlights the need for substantive reforms to Australia’s social security system according to the Australian Greens.

The Australian Community Sector Survey found that Australian community and social service organisations are unable to meet the demand for their services as more people turn to them for help.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson for Community Services says the survey shows community organisations are facing increased pressure to make their resources stretch further.

The 2011 survey recorded a 12% increase in assistance provided by agencies, with respondent organisations (745) providing services on 6,180,282 occasions in 2009-10 compared to 5,513,780 instances in 2008-09.

Fifty-five percent of organisations indicated that they were still unable to meet the demand for their services, with people being denied services on 345,000 occasions – a 19% increase on the 298,000 people turned away in 2008-09.

This means 1 in 20 eligible people seeking assistance from social services in Australia was turned away.

Senator Siewert says it is unfair that community organisations are being used to pick up the pieces of a broken system. She says the overarching message is clear – the system is failing and needs fundamental reform to reverse this trend.

Siewert says the figures released by ACOSS show the impact of a widening gap between income support payments and the cost of living.

The ACOSS survey has found that community service organisations are facing an increasing demand for services across the spectrum – including housing, aged care, emergency relief and financial support services.

Siewert says unfortunately in more and more cases, people are being turned away because demand is outstripping supply.

Siewert says she is especially concerned that the Government and Coalition continue to discuss punitive welfare measures rather than addressing the fact that income support payments are failing to even cover the basic living costs for many people. This gap continues to widen and the impacts on the community sector will increase accordingly.

She says the punitive approach being taken to income support serves only to demonise vulnerable people, despite clear evidence that our system is failing them. As a prime example, many Australians living with a disability will be forced to live on less money on Newstart Allowance under the new changes to the disability support pension.

In an interview on ABC Radio, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council, John Falzon warned that the recent riots in the UK show the dangers of leaving people disengaged and disillusioned.

Falzon told interviewer Naomi Woodley, that people who are living in a permanent state of recession, even during the economic boom time are disproportionately affected by a further downturn.

Falzon said what is needed is a rethink of the whole way social security is done in Australia; the demonisation and blaming of people who remain unheard must end.

Falzon says there is a need to engage in policies that remove barriers, tear down the walls rather than making those walls higher.




Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Report Highlights Entrenched Australian Poverty

Maggie Coggan

Wednesday, 17th October 2018 at 3:33 pm

Australia Has an Inequality Problem, Says Andrew Leigh

Luke Michael

Monday, 15th October 2018 at 1:43 pm

Jobseekers Dissatisfied With Government Employment Program

Luke Michael

Thursday, 4th October 2018 at 8:42 am

Welfare Changes Causing Anxiety for Jobseekers

Luke Michael

Monday, 1st October 2018 at 3:23 pm

POPULAR

Psychosocial Disability Stream Added to NDIS

Maggie Coggan

Wednesday, 10th October 2018 at 5:07 pm

White Ribbon Scandal Angers Sector

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 22nd October 2018 at 5:26 pm

Caution Needed Over Autism Diagnosis Guidelines

Maggie Coggan

Wednesday, 17th October 2018 at 5:25 pm

Google Reveals Finalists For $5.5 Million Grants Program

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 9th October 2018 at 4:46 pm

Macquarie
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

The social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!