Australia has work to do - Anti-Poverty Week 2011

19/10/2011

The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia will continue its push for a major overhaul of the support payment system during Anti-Poverty Week 2011 (16-22 October).

To help address poverty, St Vincent de Paul Society Chief Executive Officer Dr John Falzon has urged the Federal Government to raise the Newstart Allowance by a minimum of $50 a week, impose a moratorium on compulsory Income Management (IM) policies and reassess its attitude to people living on the edges of our society”.

“The St Vincent de Paul Society has long highlighted the inadequacy of the Newstart Allowance, which forces people to live on just $35 a day and condemns them to a life of poverty,” Dr Falzon said.

The Society is also calling on the Government to abandon hard line welfare policies such as compulsory IM that, in its view, constitutes a direct attack on people’s dignity and self-determination.

“We strongly oppose the way IM was rolled out in the Northern Territory and hold grave concerns about the Government’s plans to expand the system to other states,” Dr Falzon said.

“From July 2012, IM will be expanded to five areas including Bankstown in NSW, Playford in SA, Logan and Rockhampton in QLD and Shepparton in VIC. It will be imposed on people who are already living on meagre support payments.

“Why micro-manage people’s income when we know that social disadvantage is the result of complex social problems such as a lack of affordable housing? It’s a worrying trend and we support calls for a moratorium on all compulsory IM policies,” Dr Falzon said.

During Anti-Poverty Week 2011, the St Vincent de Paul Society is hosting a blog which is designed to engage the public on the issue of poverty.

National Council President Tony Thornton said the blog outlines the Society’s views on everything from Aboriginal justice to current campaigns to increase the Newstart Allowance.

“But more importantly, the blog will give the public the opportunity to provide feedback and comment on social justice issues of the day,” Mr Thornton said.

The blog can be found at http://blog.vinnies.org.au


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