Sacred Heart Mission is deeply disappointed that the Federal Government has once again chosen to leave behind those on the lowest incomes, particularly people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage in the 2022-2023 Federal Budget.
“The social services sector has been campaigning for years about what is required to give people the support they need. This budget blatantly ignores those struggling the most,” says Sacred Heart Mission Acting CEO Stephen Schmidtke.
Sacred Heart Mission, our partners and experts across the political spectrum have been advocating for an increase to the rate of Jobseeker, as well as other income support payments including the Aged and Disability Support Pensions. Instead of raising the rate, the Government has chosen to provide a one-off $250 payment to people receiving income support.
“This is not a solution. It’s a short-sighted band-aid that will not make a tangible and long-term difference in the lives of people who are struggling,” says Stephen.
The payment levels of Jobseeker and others remain brutally low and keep people in poverty. Poverty will only escalate as the cost of living continues to go up – primarily rent, food, energy and health care.
“Concerningly for Sacred Heart Mission, the Budget does not provide any relief for people struggling to afford their rent – which has gone up 7.4 per cent on average in the last year, and is predicted to keep rising,” says Stephen.
Rather, the Government has chosen to focus on incentives to help first-home buyers to purchase, with those on lower incomes and struggling to maintain housing or who are homeless left out of any support. These incentives put buyers at risk of not being able to repay their loans when interest rates rise again – predicted to start as early as this year.
The Budget also does not mention the term ‘social housing’ – not once, in all the Budget papers. Without investment into social housing, hundreds of thousands of low-income renters are vulnerable to homelessness. We need 25,000 properties per year for the next 10 years to come close to alleviating the housing crisis.
“There is simply not enough social and affordable housing, and Australians are left homeless as a result. If government doesn’t start investing in building more social housing now there will be no end in sight for the housing crisis,” says Stephen.
The upcoming election is an opportunity to tell politicians across the board that we care about those experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.
We want to see real action – on building social housing, raising the rate of Jobseeker, ensuring people have access to the care and supports they need and truly addressing homelessness by scaling up evidence-based programs like Sacred Heart Mission’s Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) program.
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