Thursday, 28 April 2016 16:36

Budget 2016: Growth Requires Investment in People

UnitingCare Australia is calling for next week’s Federal Budget to deliver a fairer tax system and increase investment in people and services needed to grow productivity and build a decent future for all.

“Enabling every person, regardless of age, ability, or employment status to make a full contribution to society is the key to our national prosperity,” National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said.

“We want to see the Government scale back wasteful tax concessions to big business and address poorly targeted superannuation and capital gains tax concessions. This budget is also an opportunity to improve our tax mix for better housing outcomes. We will be looking for changes to negative gearing arrangements that currently lock young people out of the housing market.

“We understand that the nation must live within its means, but we cannot afford to see a repeat of the 2014 Budget when the Government sought to impose measures that unfairly added to the burden on low-income families, the unemployed and other disadvantaged groups.”

Ms Hatfield Dodds said it is vital that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is fully funded, ensuring no-one is left behind.

“Close to 440,000 people across Australia are waiting for the full NDIS rollout. Budget measures to assist people with a disability into work and to participate in the community by delivering choice of support services under the scheme will be important.

“We believe this budget needs to prioritise universal access to vital early childhood education and confirm an increase in the minimum number of subsidised hours from 12 to 15 hours per week.

“UnitingCare Australia is also looking for long term policy initiatives that address the key issues of housing affordability and retirement income, particularly for women.”

Ms Hatfield Dodds said UnitingCare Australia continues to call for the Newstart allowance to be increased.

“The current allowance is not adequate to assist unemployed people to get back on their feet and into paid work. A more appropriate level of Newstart support will deliver far greater economic returns than the cost of long term welfare.

“Good economic policy and good social policy go hand in hand. Jobs, growth, tax reform, and investment in essential services are all needed to ensure that everyone can participate in and contribute to their community. We want to see the right balance with this budget.

Ms Hatfield Dodds said UnitingCare is a strong supporter of the Government’s innovation agenda and welcomes commitments to research, innovation and economic transition in Australia.

The UnitingCare network is one of Australia’s largest providers of social services, providing assistance to one in eight Australians and employing 40,000 staff, supported by 30,000 volunteers at 1,600 sites across urban, rural, and remote areas.

ENDS .....