21 March 2017

The Federal Government’s proposed Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform Bill will further reduce the income of already desperate people including families, and should be rejected when it is considered in the Senate this week, the St Vincent de Paul Society says.

The Bill combines a range of stalled and revised social and welfare measures, to allow for a budget saving of $4 billion.

As a result, the Society believes some of the most vulnerable in the community will be unfairly penalised, including young unemployed people, who will need to wait five weeks for their payments, and low-income families.

“At a time when nearly one in five children in Australia live in poverty, this Bill will rip money out of the family assistance system and deepen the hardship and disadvantage of some of our most vulnerable families,” the Society’s National Council CEO, Dr John Falzon said.

“Many of these families will also face reduced access to early childhood education under the proposed ‘activity test’ for child care subsidies.”

Independent modelling has shown around 149,000 disadvantaged families will be worse off, due to the proposed activity test for child care subsidies.

“The Government has maintained that cuts to family payments and the social safety net are necessary to fund child care reforms and repair the budget,” Dr Falzon added.

“At the same time, it is attempting to push through unprecedented cuts to company tax.

“The continued largesse shown to high-income earners and corporations undermines any argument that the Government is adopting a fair and sustainable approach, to ‘budget repair’.

“We believe that reducing Government support for families and social security recipients on the lowest incomes, while failing to tackle tax concessions for higher socio-economic groups, is a fundamentally unfair strategy for reducing the budget deficit.”

For further information, please refer to The St Vincent de Paul Society’s Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017.

MEDIA CONTACT:       0400 845 492 or media@svdp.org.au