Federal Budget lifts essential services but leaves too many people stranded

After years of austerity, a pandemic and a recession, the Federal Budget provides much-needed investment in crucial community services but leaves many behind in crisis, including women on low incomes and people who are unemployed, says the Australian Council of Social Service.

Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“The Budget provides much-needed funding to finally start fixing some of the gaping holes in our aged care, childcare, mental health, and domestic violence services.

“The Government’s lower unemployment target is welcome and could be lowered further. The long-overdue investment in care services will generate crucial jobs, overwhelmingly for women.

“While we welcome the expansion of training and local jobs programs for people who are unemployed, there are still 1.3 million people on JobSeeker & Youth Allowance payments, half of them for over a year. JobSeeker is just $44 a day, and Youth Allowance even less.

“So far the government has given around $20 billion dollars in personal tax cuts to people already in paid jobs for the next financial year, plus tens of billions in business tax incentives. But not a single cent more to people living in deep poverty, including women on low incomes.

“While there are some key measures for women who have secure paid work, women on low incomes have been left behind by this Budget.

“We are deeply troubled about the $671 million cut in income support for newly arrived migrants, and the $200 million cut to employment services.”

“Overall, the Budget lifts essential services but leaves too many stranded. It does nothing to address the severe shortage of social housing or raise social security payments above the poverty line.