The Australian Greens said today that the Salvation Army's Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS) is a sharp wakeup call for the federal government over the serious impact their budget will have on disadvantaged people and families.
"The Salvos have highlighted the serious challenges facing many people across Australia, including homelessness and housing insecurity, a lack of food and heating, no access to money in emergencies and social isolation," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.
"It is clear that the government's cuts to Parenting Payments, the Disability Support Pension and their harsh Newstart and Youth Allowance regimes will put more pressure on people who are already struggling.
"The Salvos highlight the serious consequences of the GP co-payment and changes to the PBS, with a quarter of people surveyed already unable to afford medical treatment and 34% of people going without medication.
"Poor health, insecure housing, going without meals and being unable to at least heat a room in the house during winter are events and situations that trap people in grinding poverty and long term disadvantage.
"Looking for work, studying or raising a family in these circumstances is close to impossible, but Tony Abbott and his government are condemning more and more people to do just that. In doing so, they are exposing people to lifelong disadvantage.
"The Salvos have pointed out the fact that payment cuts and higher costs for medical care will put more pressure on emergency relief, financial counselling and other community services. The government has shown no sign of helping the sector deal with this onslaught, and with $240 million set to be stripped from funding through the budget, the situation will get worse.
"The budget has shown that the government is either ignorant of, or doesn't care about the plight of so many people across the community who are doing it tough. They're ignoring the clear advice of the Salvos and scores of other community organisations.
"The Greens will stand up to the government over their cruel approach and will not support harsh budget cuts that punish vulnerable Australians," Senator Siewert concluded.