The St Vincent de Paul Society has rejected the government’s rhetoric accompanying today’s release of its intergenerational report.
Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon said: “Intergenerational equity shouldn’t mean that the poor today pay for the rich tomorrow.
“The members of the St Vincent de Paul Society are yet to see in the government’s messaging a real vision for Australia’s future, a future based on a plan for full employment, affordable housing and solid investment in education and training for all, not just the privileged.
“It beggars belief that the government appears to be unconcerned with rising inequality. Even the OECD points out that you don’t build a strong economy by ramping up inequality. Yet, by ripping $1 billion out of social services whilst refusing to remove tax loopholes and unfair concessions that largely benefit wealthy individuals, we are looking down the barrel of deeper inequality and a deeper divide between the haves and the have-nots.
“The Report out today suggests more means to ‘encourage’ people to take up work, including older people and women, but exactly where will these jobs come from? With 13 jobseekers for every job it is clear that the starting point should be a jobs plan, including economic development in areas of high unemployment combined with access to high quality education and training. It also means addressing the clear inadequacy of the Newstart payment, which sits at only 40 per cent of the minimum wage and is so low that it has become an obstacle to participation.
“It is the role of government to allow society to achieve collectively what we cannot achieve individually. Governments must do what markets cannot. We call on the government to stand by its original commitment to the vulnerable, and to invest in a future that does not betray young people, especially as they struggle to enter a labour market that offers few opportunities.”