The quick fixes in the Federal Budget will do little to ease poverty and disadvantage, according to one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit community services providers, Uniting Vic.Tas.
Uniting Vic.Tas CEO Bronwyn Pike said the temporary cut to the fuel excise and the one-off $250 cash payment for low-income earners would do little to ease the strain on household budgets.
“A one-off payment to a select group of low-income earners won’t address the ongoing financial hardship and poverty facing so many households,” Ms Pike said.
“We were hoping the Budget would finally raise income support payments to a rate which affords people a basic standard of living.
“Wages are stagnant, but the cost of living is rising all the time, so we needed to see more than just band-aid solutions.
“Every day, families have to make impossible choices between paying the rent, paying the electricity or gas bill or putting food on the table. These are families living day to day, week to week.”
Ms Pike said the Budget also failed to include any investment in social housing.
“Housing affordability is a national crisis,” Ms Pike said.
“It’s disappointing there was no funding for social housing or moves to make housing more affordable.
“We’ve seen state governments in both Victoria and Tasmania invest heavily in social housing – it’s time the Federal Government contributed its fair share.”
Uniting Vic.Tas welcomes a $240 million commitment to extend the Escaping Violence Payment for a further three years. This nationwide program – led by Uniting Vic.Tas – provides financial assistance to support people to escape family violence.
“The Escaping Family Violence payment is helping people across Australia to lead safer lives, free of violence,” Ms Pike said.
“As the provider for Lifeline services in Melbourne and Ballarat, we’re pleased with the additional funding for suicide prevention, including for Lifeline. This is an important acknowledgement of the huge growth in demand for mental health services – particularly since the start of the pandemic.”