Budget Must Deliver a ‘Decent Shot at Life’ for All Australians
8 May 2012 at 10:13 am
UnitingCare Australia has warned that a budget surplus must not be delivered at the expense of disadvantaged Australians.
UnitingCare Australia’s National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds says the Federal Budget will provide a road map of the Government’s priorities for Australia.
However she says poverty is still a reality for too many.
The Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan will deliver the Federal Budget in Canberra tonight and is expected to announce a surplus of $1.5 billion.
“A well managed economy must enable us to fund the things that matter," Hatfield Dodds said.
“This might mean politically challenging decisions, including measures to increase Government revenue, and investing in well targeted, long term measures that deliver whatever it takes for as long as it takes to break the cycles of disadvantage.
“Only this will deliver a decent shot at a decent life for those Australians left out and missing out. Only this will deliver reduced demand for social services.
“Over the last five years the Government has recognised economic challenges and gaps in our social service systems.
“We have seen investment in social and community housing, mental health reform, a commitment to a better deal for people with disabilities through a national disability insurance scheme, and a plan for aged care reform.
“For the first time in this country all parents will have access to paid parental leave. We’ve seen moves to improve life opportunities for children under five, a national approach to protecting Australia’s children, a commitment to a National Children’s Commissioner and better dental health for vulnerable Australians.
“But there is work still to be done. A budget surplus must not be delivered at the expense of disadvantaged Australians.
“We need to get our income support right. Only 8 per cent of the income support budget goes to unemployment benefits. We need to give people support soon enough and for long enough to solve the problems they face. We need to make it easier for people to find work and to keep jobs through life’s ups and downs. We need to ensure the sustainability of robust social services in every community and for everyone who needs them.
“A tight budget is an opportunity to prioritise spending and savings which will set us up best for the future.
“At the end of the day, we will be looking for measures that genuinely improve people’s lives and prospects, and reduce the demand for social services,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
The UnitingCare network provides social services to over 2 million people each year in 1,300 sites in remote, rural and metropolitan Australia. UnitingCare employs 35,000 staff and 24,000 volunteers.
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