The St Vincent de Paul Society has taken the federal government to task over its misleading statements about intergenerational theft.
Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon said: “The intergenerational theft that the government should be worrying about is the theft of opportunities for the next generation.
“We are engaging in intergenerational theft if we fail to invest properly in education, from pre-school right through to TAFE and university, making it accessible to all, not just the wealthy.
“We are engaging in intergenerational theft if we put the boot into young unemployed people rather than offering a practical jobs plan, especially in areas of high youth unemployment.
“We are engaging in intergenerational theft if we water down the protections afforded to people struggling to survive at the low-paid end of the labour market or on its insecure fringes.
“We are engaging in intergenerational theft if we do nothing to address the crisis in social and affordable housing today or the funding uncertainty for homelessness services, leaving a bleak future for people at risk of homelessness or experiencing housing stress.”
In its pre-budget submission the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia argued that, in order to halt growing inequality, revenue foregone in unfair tax concessions should be re-invested in ways such as:
- Re-funding the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness; increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance by at least $25 per week; and re-targeting capital gains tax and negative gearing so that they act as an incentive to build affordable housing.
- Raising Newstart by at least $50 per week immediately; indexing all payments to the Average Male Weekly Earnings, rather than the Consumer Price Index, to reflect the true cost of living.
- Long-term funding for peak housing and homelessness advocacy organisations, and reversing the cuts to services that support women leaving situations of family violence.
- A Jobs Plan for Australia’s future.
National President, Anthony Thornton said: “There are a wide range of revenue-raising measures that the government should undertake to ensure resources and opportunities are fairly distributed, not concentrated in the hands of a few. This means rational tax reform, including the closure of tax loopholes that currently benefit the wealthy.
“The Budget is an opportunity for government to set out its vision for Australia. We hope that the vision for 2015–2016 will not be one of degradation and despair but rather one of inclusion and optimism.”