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Thursday, 15 September 2016 22:09

Bouquets to Federal Parliament on budget repair

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CRAL logo 150Catholic Religious Australia, the peak body of religious institutes in Australia, congratulates the parties within the Federal Parliament who collaborated to seek a fairer change in ‘budget repair’ discussion and not cut the energy supplement to welfare recipients.

Sister Ruth Durick, President of Catholic Religious Australia, said that ‘it is high time for greater consideration be given to people who are on welfare without adding to their burdens’.

Members of Catholic Religious Australia work on the ground with many people in the community from Indigenous people, homeless people, unemployed or underemployed employed, the aged and victims of domestic violence. They see the income inequality that is impacting on these people.

Sister Ruth said "though not politically popular, tax changes are necessary if Australia is to see greater social and economic equality…. and those corporations that avoid their tax responsibilities should be held to account". She added, that cutting payments to already disadvantaged groups within the community exacerbates the increased inequality that we have witnessed. We cannot allow further burdens being placed on people who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Sister Ruth, in congratulating the agreement in the Federal Parliament, called on all political leaders to be mindful of the need to work together to reduce inequality.

Australia’s growing poverty rate is estimated at two and half million people or 14% living below international standards of poverty. In October 2014, ACOSS released a new report revealing that poverty is growing in Australia with an estimated 2.5 million people or 13.9% of all people living below the internationally accepted poverty line. The report provides the most up to date picture of poverty in the nation drawing on new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Income and Expenditure surveys for 2011-12 and previous years. It found that 603,000 or 17.7% of all children were living in poverty in Australia (Poverty in Australia Report 2014).

Those experiencing poverty include the young and the old. Among the most vulnerable are unemployed older workers, women with limited retirement savings, Grandparent carers, homeless people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  Australia needs to be a more inclusive society (2016-17 Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Social Justice Statement – pp 6-7).

So in congratulating the Parliament, we call on them to be ever mindful of those whose voices are often not heard or ignored.

(15 September 2016)