Friday, 06 September 2013 11:05

We Seek a Decent Society. What Do You Seek?

Vulnerable people and communities deserve attention and investment well beyond any campaign period, parliamentary term or budget cycle, UnitingCare Australia National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds says.

“We can afford a decent society where no one is left behind. That is the Australia we all seek,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said in Canberra today.

“Our economy is strong. We can have adequately funded social services and supports, to ensure the vulnerable and disadvantaged are not missing out in our prosperous country. We can afford to restore the tax to GDP ratio to fund the things that matter, and to ensure Government funding meets the full cost of service delivery,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

UnitingCare Australia represents one of the nation’s largest networks of social services with 35,000 staff, supported by 24,000 volunteers, providing services to more than 2 million people each year in 1,300 sites in every state and territory across remote, regional and urban Australia.

“We can have an Australia where people have both the means and opportunity for a decent life. Government, businesses and the community sector can work together to create a fair and just society in which social, environmental and economic goals are aligned,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

“Let’s seek a society in which older people can participate in the community and workforce without barriers and can choose from a range of sustainable aged care services and supports they need, when they need it. Let’s develop sustainable social services that can effectively respond to the needs of households, families and communities.”

“Children, young people and families should be able to access support for a decent life. Let’s seek ongoing commitment to the role of the National Children’s Commissioner as an independent advocate for children and increase investment in family support to vulnerable families over longer periods of time.”

“Let’s seek a community in which people experiencing housing stress and homelessness can access and retain appropriate housing. Let’s increase the availability of alternative social and affordable housing and increase support for those with complex needs, so that they can better access and maintain secure and affordable housing.”

“Let’s seek a society in which people with a disability enjoy full inclusion in the community, with access to necessary supports and services. There is significant unmet need.” 

“Let’s seek a society in which people with mental health issues are supported in their recovery and can attain the foundations for a contributing life – quality health care, stable housing, and employment and educational opportunities.”

“Let’s not trample on people’s inherent dignity. As a society and as a community, we can and should do better. We need to reduce the barriers facing people who are at risk and experiencing social and financial disadvantage and offer people a decent standard of living. Let’s increase Newstart and the Youth Allowance so that people can live in dignity,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

“Government can commit to capacity building in the Not for Profit sector, including improving access to capital and supporting workforce initiatives to strengthen the foundations of a sustainable and effective community sector.”

“Government can significantly reduce red tape imposed on the community sector to ensure scarce resources are used effectively.”

“Government can enhance decision making and policy development through the broadening of membership of key advisory bodies and entities, including the central bank board, to reflect expertise and insights from the community sector.”

“All political parties can commit to a just and fair society,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.