A fortnightly newsletter from Acting National Director Martin J. Cowling
To read the issue, go here.
Uniting aged care facility wins major award
Australian Priority Investment Approach to Welfare
Political engagement continues on aged care funding
Join us at UnitingCare's Housing Forum on 27 October
Brisbane launch of Women and Employment Demonstration Project
Workplace Equality and Respect Project
Plans for Christams Appeal advancing
A new report released today by the Major Church Providers of social services in Australia shows some people living on the dole are living in such poverty, that their chances of getting a job are seriously limited.
UnitingCare Australia’s National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds said the Coalition’s decision to cut the Income Support Bonus, should it form government after the Federal election in September, will deliver a significant blow to low income Australians including people on Newstart, Youth Allowance and Parenting payments.
All Australians should have the means and opportunity to live a decent life of financial health and wellbeing.
UnitingCare believes the Australian welfare system must support the transition out of poverty into stable employment.
This can be achieved through a more equitable tax and transfer system, in conjunction with innovative national employment approaches that address the changing workforce.
Poverty and inequality continue to grow in Australia. A staggering 2.55 million Australians were living below the poverty line in 2012.
Chronic poverty remains a high risk, with about a quarter of those who exit poverty returning to being poor within two years, and about 12 to 15 per cent of poor households remaining poor 11 years later.
Income inequality in Australia is higher than the OECD average. In the 25 years up to 2010, real wages increased by 50 per cent on average, but only by 14 per cent for those in the bottom 10 per cent, compared with 72 per cent for those in the top 10 per cent.
An increasing number of children and young people are caught up in the financial hardship affecting their families. Growing up in poverty is a key risk factor for living with long-term financial hardship as an adult, so actions that reduce the risk of poverty in families are crucial.
This includes improving the financial literacy of Australians from an early age, so that they know how to achieve a secure economic future for themselves.
Australia’s workforce participation is declining; the ageing population and advancement in technology are expected to contribute to this trend. Automation of low-skilled jobs may further contribute to the recent peak in youth unemployment.
New skills and capabilities, such as digital literacy, will be crucial in the post-mining boom era.
UnitingCare Australia released a report today showing Australians who are experiencing financial hardship are not able to make ends meet because welfare payments are too low.
The report found that the majority of people seeking emergency relief and financial counselling from UnitingCare agencies across Australia were recipients of Newstart Allowance, and were unable to afford food and energy bills.
UnitingCare Australia’s National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds said that this year’s Federal Budget falls short of its own ambition to provide equality of opportunity for all Australians.
"The burden of this budget falls overwhelmingly on families, pensioners and young people.
UnitingCare Australia today expressed concern about the abolition of the Dementia and Severe Behaviour Supplement.
“The Dementia and Severe Behaviour Supplement was introduced to meet the additional costs of caring for people with severe needs. While that cost has proved to be much larger than expected, that is reflective of the significant level of need we are facing. It is vital that we find ways to meet the needs of some of our frailest Australians,” said UnitingCare National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds.
UnitingCare Australia welcomes the weekend release of the McClure Review’s Interim Report on welfare reform and is encouraged by the foundations being laid by the review.
“We all agree that a simple, efficient and adequate system is important and that we need to make sure people are being supported effectively. The critical thing is to ensure that these priorities remain forefront for any recommendations made,” said Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia.
In the lead-up to the submission deadline for the Interim Report on Welfare Reform (8 August), Australia’s major church providers have released a statement of key principles for a fair and effective welfare system.
Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Social Services Australia, The Salvation Army and UnitingCare Australia urges the Welfare Reform Reference Group to keep this statement in mind when reviewing feedback on report.
Australia’s Major Church Providers are today lodging submissions on the Welfare Review Interim Report, and are encouraging the reference panel to keep top-of-mind some key themes and principles when reviewing feedback.
Major Church Providers believe the reform is a good opportunity to improve a system that has become unnecessarily complicated over time. It is a chance to create a stronger and more effective safety net that protects people from poverty and provides an adequate level of income to enable a decent quality of life.