Federal Budget forgets Social Justice

15 May 2014

The recent Federal budget should be of concern to all Australians who have a commitment to social justice and building a nation on equity and consideration for the vulnerable amongst us. 

The Mercy Foundation is concerned that the most disadvantaged Australians will be carrying the heaviest burden of cost savings measures that have been introduced. The Anglicare National Director has been reported as stating that savings in the budget from social welfare and family payments will come to $12 billion, while the temporary levy represents $3 billion and big business less than $1 billion.

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) have also expressed concern. Their CEO, Cassandra Goldie said “The Budget divides rather than mends. It entrenches divisions between those with decent incomes, housing and health care and those without them. It undermines the fabric of our social safety net with severe cuts to health, disability support, income support, community services and housing programs.”

Many more concerned organisation have spoken out. The St Vincent de Paul Society Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon said that the “Federal Budget is deeply offensive to the people for whom every day is already a battle. There are measures in this Budget that rip the guts out of what remains of a fair and egalitarian Australia. These measures will not help people into jobs but they will force people into deeper poverty.”

For those of us who are already working to bring an end to homelessness in Australia, this budget makes it that much harder. There will be greater calls on charities to help pick up the pieces for families who just can’t make ends meet. There are also impacts on homelessness and housing programs and these are outlined in the attachment produced by Homelessness Australia.

The National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) which provided subsidies to organisations building new affordable housing has been cancelled and this will make it that much harder to get new affordable housing construction projects financed and built. And this will make it that much harder to end homelessness by ensuring all Australians are housed.