Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers has described this year’s budget as backward.
“The government set the scene for a tough budget that really looked to the future, but many of the cuts to welfare and services are a return to the past,” Ms Chambers said.
“Withholding income support for six months to anyone under 30 out of work might save some money in the short term, but it will not get people into paid work any quicker. It will simply make their life harder in the meantime.
“And requiring every patient to pay to see a doctor will not stop those who overuse the system, it will instead discourage those who need to take their health more seriously.
“This is a long lasting budget too. The decision to shift pensioners onto a lower indexation rate means their income will no longer grow faster than the inadequate Newstart Allowance. They will however, drop further and further behind the living standard of everyone else.
“And there is still some devil in the detail here. The Department of Social Services funds a number of essential support services, such as financial counselling and emergency relief, from its Discretionary Grant Programme. But we don’t yet know what will be cut in the $240 million savings slated here.
“Most importantly perhaps, the government had an opportunity to take on some of the shibboleths of our unfair economy – such as the tax laws that makes our housing unaffordable to the poor, and the superannuation rules that enormously reward the rich.
“Unfortunately the government chose to reinforce too many of these inequities, rather than to take them on. It’s a budget without hope – leaving many vulnerable Australians behind.”