TWO Anglican agencies have strongly criticised aspects of the
Federal Government's Budget, presented in the Australian Parliament
Anglicare Australia, and the Brotherhood of St Laurence have
attacked welfare cuts in particular.
In a range of decisions that have caused controversy, the
Federal Budget has cut or abolished welfare support for the young
unemployed and families, made significant changes to pension
arrangements, and introduced a patient payment for medical
services. The budget has led to widespread commentary and dispute,
including from the Federal Labor opposition.
Kasy Chambers, the executive director of Anglicare Australia,
described the Budget as "backward". "Withholding income support for
six months to anyone under 30 out of work might save some money in
the short term, but it will not get people into paid work any
quicker. It will simply make their life harder in the mean time,"
Requiring patients to make a co-payment for visits to general
practitioners and other medical services would not stop those who
over-used the systems, she said, but would discourage those who
needed to take their health more seriously.
The executive director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Tony
Nicholson, said that changes in the budget affecting young
unemployed people appeared to be a "first step down a more radical
policy path, diverging from the best available evidence of what
Writing in the newspaper The Australian, Mr Nicholson
said that the welfare system in Australia was "highly targeted; so
any cutbacks inevitably hit some groups harshly, no matter how
carefully the changes are calibrated".