One of Victoria and Tasmania’s largest not-for-profit community services providers, Uniting Vic.Tas today welcomed the key social reforms in the 2022-23 Federal Budget, but warned more support was required to address immediate cost-of-living challenges.
Uniting Vic.Tas CEO Bronwyn Pike said the ambitious social housing program to deliver one million new dwellings over five years, cheaper childcare, expanded paid parental leave and boosting family violence support were among the highlights.
Uniting Vic.Tas has previously committed $20 million towards social housing, including a plan to build 500 new homes across Victoria and Tasmania.
“We’re really pleased the Government has prioritised social housing in its first Budget,” Ms Pike said.
“Homelessness and housing affordability is a national crisis which has been ignored for too long, so a program like this is long overdue.
“However, the crisis is happening now, and we’re concerned that relief for people is still several years away – more action needs to be taken now. Every day we turn away people from our homelessness services because there’s no accommodation available.”
“We welcome the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children and the additional funding for the Escaping Violence Program, which we deliver across the country. This program is already helping thousands of women live safer lives.
“There was some cost relief around medicines and the price of prescriptions, however, it’s disappointing there wasn’t more relief for people struggling with the cost-of-living.
“We recently released a report on the impact of the cost-of-living on Victorians and Tasmanians on low incomes which showed 92 per cent of people cutting back on food, and many struggling to even keep the lights on.
“We would have liked to have seen more of an increase in funding for emergency relief and some targeted assistance to help people with their energy bills.
“We’ve also consistently called for an increase to income support rates – too many people are still living in poverty.”
Ms Pike said the childcare assistance package would help more women return to the workforce.
“In our report we heard from young mothers who were struggling to balance the costs of childcare with feeding their families and paying bills – so it will make a difference,” Ms Pike said.
“The boost in free TAFE places will also help more vulnerable people get back to work. However, we would have liked to see the Government increase the time people can work without it impacting their income support.”
Learn more about Uniting Vic.Tas.