The Western Australian Council of Social Service has welcomed the increased focus on women, childcare, and aged care in the Federal Budget, but says it has widely missed the mark in addressing the growing divide in our community.
“The wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 has had a profound effect on the livelihoods, mental health and wellbeing of all Australians, particularly people most vulnerable and marginalised in our communities, and this has galvanised community calls for government action to better support people in need,” said Louise Giolitto, Chief Executive Officer.
“While it is positive that the Morrison Government is responding to community concerns by taking steps towards addressing major funding gaps in areas like family violence, aged care, child care and mental health, they have also missed the opportunity to provide meaningful change for those in poverty.
“The boost to childcare is welcome, but will mostly benefit middle class families, and not those on the lowest incomes, with the impact on less formal arrangements, such as grandparent carers, unclear.
“The funding to cover equal pay commitments for homelessness services is an incredibly welcome inclusion in this year’s budget, and absolutely necessary for jobs in the sector. We look forward to the State Government rolling this out to state-based providers quickly and efficiently.
“There is nothing in this Budget, however, to provide the long term sustainable funding needed to create better paid, more secure jobs for workers in the community services sector. Youth unemployment continues to be overlooked, despite being almost double the national unemployment average.
“The Morrison Government continues to draw a cruel and discriminatory distinction between migrants and the Australian public. Cutting costs by blocking new migrants from accessing government supports for four years while simultaneously spending to extend and harden the immigrant detention network is a reflection of this Government’s disintegrating moral standards towards migrants.
“Without support, people will be forced to turn to community services for emergency relief for food packages and emergency housing, which are already reporting increased demand.
“The Morrison Government continues to delay any meaningful action to address climate change, despite witnessing the devastating impacts of unprecedented bushfires, cyclones, and floods. Regional communities, those most vulnerable to climate impacts and future generations will bear the burden of this backward-looking stance of pouring money into polluting industries while shunning investment in renewable energy.
“It is absolutely shameful that the Morrison Government has failed to increase income support, despite the coronavirus supplement to JobSeeker lifting more than 400,000 Australians out of poverty, while backing in $20 billion worth of personal tax cuts. It’s back to “business as usual” for the Government in this post-COVID recovery period, which will widen the gap between the well-off and those facing disadvantage in our communities,” Louise Giolitto concluded.
Media contact: Laurene Coller, Communications Officer, [email protected], 0419 316 557.