Vinnies supports economic inclusion recommendations

Vinnies supports economic inclusion recommendations

Media Release
Poverty Alleviation

The St Vincent de Paul Society is urging the Australian Government to act on all recommendations proposed by the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee.

‘We have been calling for increases to JobSeeker and Commonwealth Rent Assistance for years. They are woefully inadequate, and nothing will change unless we prioritise these areas,’ National President Mark Gaetani said.

‘The Society provides over $50 million a year in emergency relief. Right now, we’re seeing month on month increases in requests for assistance, with more and more people seeking our help for the first time.

‘The Australian community expects action from the Government to alleviate these pressures. Ordinary Australians are doing it tough, but those on income support are doing it tougher.

We appreciate the need for ‘fiscal repair’ and ‘budget restraint’, but surely we’re mature enough to walk and chew gum at the same time,’ said Mr Gaetani.

The Society calls for a way forward, an implementation plan from Government that maps out how these recommendations will be actioned.

‘This means having robust debate. It means being open-minded about the possibilities and prioritising the social wellbeing of our citizens. It means not shying away from critics who harp on about deviating from your mandate,’ Mr Gaetani said.

$24 billion will alleviate poverty for many people. It will also improve social and economic outcomes. We know from the pandemic that every dollar invested in income support generates a significant economic return, with funds spent right away on essentials and in local communities.

The Society’s A Fairer Australia also calls for more to be done to address unemployment and help the long-term unemployed. Unfortunately, some communities have experienced entrenched disadvantage for many years. A targetted approach through place-based innovation zones and support hub models is fully supported.

The Society also commissioned the ANU to model A Fairer Tax and Welfare System. An extra $3,000 in tax a year, from high wealth households, would cover increases to income support and Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

We will be releasing an update to the ANU report in May.

‘Let’s start by dropping the stage 3 tax cuts – given the cost of living and housing crisis we’re currently facing, this is a no brainer. If the Government won’t increase income support now, we’d at least like to see some additional funding for Emergency Relief and Food Relief Programs in this Budget to deal with the immediate crisis that is unfolding.

The time for action is now – we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by removing barriers to employment and giving those who need a hand up a fair go,’ said Mr Gaetani.

MEDIA CONTACT DETAILS: MOB: 0475 068 209 | E: media@svdp.org.au