The economy means everyone: Vinnies
St Vincent de Paul Society National President Mr Syd Tutton has urged both sides of politics to focus on the people who have been pushed to the edges of Australian society.
“A Federal Election provides a good opportunity to reflect on what really matters to the people of Australia. For our members, who see the Australian face of exclusion every day, we long for an Australia free from entrenched disadvantage,” Mr Tutton said.
“We stand with aged pensioners, young people, people living with a disability, unemployed people, low-paid families, sole parents, people experiencing homelessness or housing stress, the First Peoples of this country and all who are marginalised.
“We also long to see an end to the senseless demonization of asylum seekers. To those who refer to these people as illegal, we point out that they are acting legitimately in applying for asylum here.”
According to St Vincent de Paul Society National Chief Executive Officer Dr John Falzon, it is estimated that at least 12 per cent of the population are living in a state of permanent Recession.
“This election is about the economy. But we must remember that the economy means everyone; not just the prosperous,” Dr Falzon said.
“The Government successfully steered Australia through the Global Financial Crisis, even though there were aspects of the stimulus spending that were poorly designed or executed. Nevertheless, jobs were saved and jobs were created. This made the world of difference to many families.”
Dr Falzon said historical commitments had been made by the Government in the areas of homelessness, social exclusion and social housing.
“These were sound economic, as well as social, investments,” Dr Falzon said. “In each of these areas, however, work has only just begun. We also welcome the Government’s commitment to a progressive reform agenda to support the non-profit sector and we encourage the Coalition to make a similar commitment.”
Income management 'unjust'
Dr Falzon said the Society was gravely concerned about the policy of compulsory income management imposed on Aboriginal Australians and low-income Australians.
“This policy is embraced by both sides of politics. It is unjust. It delivers only disempowerment. We are also saddened to see Unemployed Australians and Sole Parents being denied much-needed increases to their social security payments. We reject any calls for a more punitive approach to people doing it tough.
“We state to both Parties that our nation can no longer turn its back on the growing problem of mental illness. We note the Coalition’s funding commitment in this area, although we cannot endorse any cuts to primary healthcare as a means to defraying the cost of this commitment. We must not only meet the needs of people living with a mental illness. We must also work to create a more equal, and therefore healthier, Australia.
“We also call on both Parties to commit to guaranteeing that all people are appropriately housed. Housing is a human right. People cannot participate when they are denied this fundamental right. The private rental market has not delivered affordable housing to low-income families. Governments must do what markets cannot.”
There are more than 500 St Vincent de Paul Society volunteer members and 70 employees in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta. St Vincent de Paul Society operates four Vinnies Centres (Seven Hills, Springwood, Kingswood and Merrylands) in the Diocese, as well as youth and social services including the Cardinal Freeman Centre, Our Lady of the Way and the Caroline Chisholm Centre for Social Justice. Parishioners attached to Vinnies Conferences conduct home visitations and other initiatives in 47 Parishes throughout the Diocese.
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