Last night’s Federal Budget spoke a great deal about fairness but it leaves the poorest Australians to do the bulk of the heavy lifting, says the Victorian Council of Social Service.
“Several measures in the Budget are deeply concerning and will entrench poverty and disadvantage,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.
“It is important to note that these measures come on the back of devastating cuts to the community sector over the past 18 months. These include cuts to mental health services, child youth and family support, community legal services, and carer respite.”
“Forcing young people who are under 25 to go without payments for 4 weeks of every year will put vulnerable young people at risk of poverty and homelessness and will do nothing to address our spiraling unemployment rate.”
“There are approximately 800,000 people out of work in Australia – competing for only 150,000 available jobs. It is hard to understand how the government expects young people to survive without support.”
“You can’t punish people into employment.”
“The government’s decision to press ahead with last year’s changes to family tax benefits will be devastating for low income families. This measure will hit over 500,000 families including sole parent families with children older than 6 years, who stand to lose several thousand dollars per year.”
“The activity test contained in the ‘Jobs for Families’ package will unfairly disadvantage children whose parents are not in work. The loss of 12 hours per week of early childhood education for children in low-income families will deprive critical early-years support from those who it most benefits.”
“The Youth Employment Strategy does contain investments in school-to-work transition programs for unemployed young people, but these are funded at a substantially lower level than the successful Youth Connections program which was cut in last year’s budget.”
“We look forward to seeing more detail of the Youth Employment Strategy given the high number of Victorian young people who unemployed, underemployed, or at risk of disengagement.”
“The lack of action on ending tax breaks which favour wealthy Australians is another lost opportunity to create a fairer tax system that ensures we can fund the critical supports and services upon which people rely.”