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.”
“And I thought then that the best way in which I could be a ‘man for others’ was to become a priest”. Those Mr Abbott were your words and even though you subsequently thought you didn’t have what it takes to be a priest, have you really thrown overboard your personal Jesuits commitments as well? Aren’t these commitments binding on any Christian whether we are a priest or not. As a leader of this nation how much greater is your responsibility to care for the sick and the poor now that their future is totally in your hands. If in spite of our triple A rating and our great wealth on a GDI basis, you are still of the opinion that a budget surplus is the be-all-and-end-all, then surely there are more equitable ways of doing this. Have you thought about the consequences of massive unemployment and young people having to live on fresh air for a period of six months if they cannot find work and pay more to see a doctor.