Media Releases

UnitingCare Australia is deeply disappointed that the Government and Opposition have joined to wind back much-needed gambling reforms, National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said.

“The poker machine industry takes money out of the pockets of those who can least afford it and from those who are least able to control it,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

UnitingCare Australia welcomes the National Mental Health Commission’s 2013 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention and its establishment of clear recommendations for governments and the community.

“As a nation, we need to reduce barriers facing people who are at risk and experiencing disadvantage, understanding that mental health needs intersect with other core social services and supports,” National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said. “Many factors contribute to recovery, including access to good clinical treatment, a safe home, strong relationships and financial security.”

UnitingCare Australia welcomes measures taken to ensure the needs of households are considered by energy network companies when deciding how to direct all aspects of future spending, including high-cost capital expenditure, National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said today.

“Charges for network costs can make up half of current household energy bills, making it very hard for people to reduce spending via lower usage. Measures which will ensure future spending takes consumer needs into account are very welcome. Access to affordable energy underpins good health and full participation in society,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

As the community considers its contribution to the Government’s Commission of Audit, and as the Government considers its legislative and policy agenda, it’s important to take the time to think about what we cherish, Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia, said.

“Our economy is strong compared to the rest of the world. We can afford to restore our tax to GDP ratio to fund the things that matter. Providing health, education and social services will require collecting more tax. Lifting tax as a share of GDP to at least the 23.7% level of 2007, up from levels around 20% in 2010-11, would enable us to pay for what we value,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

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.

UnitingCare Australia has called on all political parties to commit to a just and fair society, National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said today, launching UnitingCare Australia’s Election Statement 2013.

“We can build a strong social-economic framework that supports people’s participation in education, training, employment and community life,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said. “Good social policy is good economics, and good politics.”

The Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce commends the South Australian Government for seeking parent and community advice about the extent to which gambling –like behaviour is occurring amongst children, through social media, mobile phone apps and other new technologies.

Australia can afford a strong social-economic framework that supports individuals, families and communities, Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia, said on Friday.

“The Australian economy is in good shape and, as a nation, we can afford to provide the services that matter – for all, and for the most vulnerable,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said, responding to the Federal Government’s Economic Statement released earlier today.

Speaking after the release of the The Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia Productivity Commission's study, National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds said “a combination of inadequate financial support and access to services is forcing vulnerable people into deeper poverty, entrenching their disadvantage, and making it increasingly difficult for them to get ahead.”

Disadvantage is dynamic. Most people who become disadvantaged are able to move out of it relatively quickly, but a small group remain disadvantaged for extended periods of time. 

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.