UnitingCare Australia is encouraged by this morning’s news regarding the yet to be released final report of the Reference Group on Welfare Reform. “Australia needs a simpler, fairer and more adequate welfare system. If news reports this morning are accurate, the McClure recommendations may offer a way forward to achieve that,” said Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia.

“We particularly welcome attention being given to the adequacy of payments people receive.”

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“UnitingCare Australia shares the Government’s desire to see more people assisted into the workforce, but we also caution that a realistic understanding of the challenges facing the most vulnerable Australians is required,” said Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia, in response to Minister Morrison’s speech at the National Press Club today.

“For many people welfare can and should function as a short term safety net, helping them through a difficult period of life before they move back into engagement with the workforce,” said Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia.

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“Today’s release of the Intergenerational Report (IGR) provides an opportunity for us to think about the policy decisions we face. It should focus us on ensuring all Australians can participate and contribute,” said Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia.

“The forecasts in the report don’t tell us the future, but they do give us a sense of the significant demographic shifts that are likely to occur. The IGR provides an opportunity for us to make plans now, to ensure we have a reliable safety net and can provide opportunities for people in the future.”

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Our Christian mission calls us to promote the dignity of all people. A key cohort of people who access our services is made up of individuals and families living within limited means, including many who are eligible for an Australian Government pension, allowance and/or tax benefit. We have a strong interest in the pursuit of a fair and adequate welfare system that enables people to live decent lives.

UnitingCare is closely following developments in social security and welfare policy, including budget measures announced on 13 May 2014 and contained in the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 1) Bill 2014 and Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014 (the Bills). We are grateful for the opportunity to submit to the Inquiry into these Bills.

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We believe that all people have inherent value, and have the ability to contribute to Australia.

Participation and engagement requires access to income, healthcare, education, essential services, and housing. We believe that, as a society, we all have a responsibility – individually, in business, via our government, and through our communities – to enable access to the resources people need to live their lives with dignity and respect.

Published in Submissions

We believe that all people have inherent value, and have the ability to contribute to Australia.

Participation and engagement requires access to income, healthcare, education, essential services, and housing. We believe that, as a society, we all have a responsibility – individually, in business, via our government, and through our communities – to enable access to the resources people need to live their lives with dignity and respect.

Published in Submissions

We take this opportunity to provide feedback to the Committee on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (No. 2) Bill 2015, specifically regarding the measure to continue the Income Management programme and provision of the BasicsCard for an additional two years.

UnitingCare Australia believes that the Senate should oppose these measures. There is no substantive evidence to demonstrate that compulsory income management has resulted in any measurable reduction in social harm through its implementation to date. The lack of data that directly measures the impact of income management separately from other policy interventions, has prevented evaluation of compulsory income management as a stand- alone strategy.

Published in Submissions

Thank you to the Committee for providing the opportunity to comment on this Bill.

As noted in UnitingCare Australia’s written submission, we’ve previously indicated support for reform of Social Services legislation when it is informed by a thorough analysis of the needs of individuals and families who access the welfare system. It’s paramount that the impacts of any reform are thoroughly and transparently assessed prior to changes being implemented that may result in adverse impacts on the most vulnerable members of our community.

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This year's Budget seeks to repair some of the political damage from last year.

"Worthwhile measures include investing in vulnerable children, continued commitment to the NDIS, tightening means testing for the age pension, and the groundwork for further aged care reform," said Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia.

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The Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook has adjusted spending in essential human services, particularly aged care.

“UnitingCare Australia supports the reduction of childcare subsidies for high income families. Our focus is to ensure that vulnerable and low income parents are provided with adequate support and access to quality childcare; as the results of regular access to early learning and education are well documented.” said Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia.

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