Government must help vulnerable as rates move higher

Government must help vulnerable as rates move higher

Media Release

The Australian Government must provide urgent assistance to those in need as surging inflation and interest rates put life’s essentials further out of reach for a growing number of Australians.

St Vincent de Paul National President Claire Victory said today’s interest rate increase – the fifth in as many months – is another blow for many Australians already doing it tough.

‘Our teams across Australia are experiencing a huge jump in demand from Australians struggling to afford basic living expenses, such as housing, food, utilities and health care,’ Ms Victory said.

‘Many are coming to us for the first time in chronic financial stress as month after month of skyrocketing inflation and the flow-on effects of higher interest rates leave them unable to cope.

‘Today’s interest rate increase will inevitably be passed on through higher prices and rents, which will have a particularly devastating impact on those already stretched to their limits,’ Ms Victory said.

Ms Victory called on the Albanese Government to abandon the stage 3 tax cuts and to redirect funding to support vulnerable Australians by lifting JobSeeker and other support payments, and increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

‘While the indexation announced by the Government this week will lift income support payments by 4 per cent, around 830,000 people on JobSeeker will continue to live in poverty simply because the base rate is too low and indexation cannot keep up with the surging cost-of-living,’ Ms Victory said.

‘These are choices that the Government makes about who misses out and who benefits.

‘We need to say that it is not good enough that people in Australia cannot afford a safe home and to feed themselves and their children,’ Ms Victory said.

The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia is calling for the Albanese Government to:

  • Lift the rate of working age payments: a $10-$15 a day increase would lift 1 million out of poverty

  • Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50 per cent

  • Introduce a replacement for the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which is winding up by 2026

  • Index income support payments biannually in line with wage growth and CPI

  • Increase the income threshold for income support recipients from $150 to $300 a fortnight

‘Together these reforms will contribute to a fairer Australia in which no one is held back and no one is left behind,’ Ms Victory said.

The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia consists of 45,000 members and volunteers who operate on the ground through over 1,000 conferences located in individual parishes across the country.

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