Federal Budget provides Little Relief for those on the Margins
14 May 2013
The Salvation Army is disappointed the 2013/14 federal budget has not provided any significant relief to struggling individuals and families, and instead is relying on the community service sector to ease the financial burden faced by those already marginalised due to increased cost of living pressures.
While The Salvation Army welcomes the $19 per week increase in the income free threshold for Newstart allowance recipients, this increase is superficial at best and will be of little comfort to those who are unable to secure meaningful employment due to circumstances out of their control.
The Salvation Army’s National Secretary, Major Kelvin Alley said: “While the federal budget is faced with significant challenges at this time, fiddling at the margins will provide no real relief for individuals and families whose household budgets are already up against the wall. This federal budget is no game changer for struggling families who have already cut their budgets to the bone. Many individuals and families will be wondering what else is left to cut.
“Whilst the decision to allow Newstart allowance recipients to earn more money before their allowance is impacted is helpful, it must be recognised the vast majority of Newstart recipients are already seeking work, and the idea that they can easily find more part-time work to supplement their allowance is more rhetoric than reality. If the government is serious about helping lift those on the margins out of poverty, it should be looking at a mix of measures and a holistic policy approach instead of the minimalist superficial reforms which have been put forward in this budget.”
Of increasing concern is the strong likelihood of large numbers of requests for assistance from asylum seekers who have been granted non-work Bridging Visas. This will create significant additional demand on our already stretched services and resources.
The Salvation Army also shares the international aid and development sector’s strong disappointment over the decision to again defer the target date for Australia to meet its goal of providing 0.5% of Gross National Income to overseas aid, and the continuing diversion of $375 million from overseas aid to meet the onshore cost of processing asylum seekers.
The Salvation Army commends the federal government on the reforms in education funding, as well as the major reforms in the provision of disability services.
Dr. Bruce Redman – The Salvation Army (VIC / SA / WA / TAS & NT)
Tel: (03) 8878 2448 Mob: 0417 537 950