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All in this together? Budget entrenches poverty

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 13 Oct 2020

It is unconscionable that the Government did not include a permanent increase to Jobseeker in the budget.
If we can fund billions of dollars worth of tax cuts for the wealthy we can ensure that no one in this country is living in poverty. 

Budgets are about the choices we make. This is a budget that ignores people trying to survive without work when we know that there will be far more people without work than there are jobs available for a long time into the future.
Everybody knows that the Jobseeker payment is too low, even the Government does because they brought in the coronavirus supplement.
This budget is based on very big assumptions that there will be a vaccine by next year and that the expenditure on Jobseeker will be half by the next budget.
While disabled people can make use of the extra $500 in this budget it does not make up for the fact they did not receive the coronavirus supplement and the extra costs they had to wear. Disabled people feel abandoned by this Government, they are extremely anxious about both the health risks of this pandemic and their ability to get their medication and pay rent. $500 is not enough.

“Refocusing” existing employment services programs will make savings of $1.4 billion over four years and includes a transition to a new digital employment services platform. The Government is investing further in on-line and digital services before the digital trials have been evaluated. This process is likely to increase the digital divide.
For a start anyone who has spoken to or at least listened to someone on Jobseeker would know that it is very difficult for people to actually afford internet services and smartphones.
The money for aged care is an insult to older Australians, their families and the workforce.  It’s not enough.
Where is the proper funding for a workforce strategy? The sector needs at least $3.5 billion to fix the workforce.
Where is a pay increase for our aged care workers who are caring for our mothers, fathers and grandparents?
Piecemeal funding announcements won't fix the aged care sector and this budget once again fails older Australians and their families 
While more home care places are welcomed, the $1.6bn for an additional 23,000 home care places still leaves a significant portion of the 100,000 Australians on the waiting list on that list.

There is no further funding to the royal commission COVID recommendations, despite the Government accepting all the recommendations. 
The Government is now describing the Cashless Debit Card funding as “ongoing funding” rather than funding for trial sites. Clearly the Government wants make this card permanent.
This is yet another attempt to stealthily entrench this racist and punitive card that it is not accepted by the community or has any evidence that it is achieving its purported outcomes. 
Of course they won't tell us how much this social experiment is costing. What we do know is that it is costing people their dignity and quality of life. 
Another budget and another failure to recognise the impact that climate change is having on our health.
Inaction on climate change is having a devastating effect on people's health. Climate change is affecting our health through an increase in infectious disease transmission during extreme weather events and heatwaves, worsening air pollution, higher mortality rates from heat stress, and increased incidence of mental illness.

This budget fails so many in our community, the Government should look after the well being of everyone not just their wealthy mates.

Media Contact
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie; 0418 401 180

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