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Social justice update – May 2012

The Federal Budget 2012/13
In its budget response the St Vincent de Paul Society was sharply critical of the negative impact on people who are outside the labour market and sole parents. Although, the Society welcomed initiatives such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme and other measures to help reduce inequality, it was scathing of the Government’s treatment of those who continue to be left out. Read the Society’s official response at blog.vinnies.org.au

Newstart campaign
The Society continues to campaign for a minimum $50 per week increase in the Newstart Allowance. The recent Budget granted approximately $4 per week extra to Newstart recipients living on about $245 a week. St Vincent de Paul Society National Council Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon said that you don’t help people find work by forcing them into poverty. Read more about the Newstart campaign on the Australian Council of Social Services website acoss.org.au

Single mums fare worst
As outlined in the Budget, $700 million will be cut from the sole parent payment over the next four years. The Society opposes a policy to come into effect in January that will see single mums moved from a Single Parenting Payment to the Newstart Allowance once their youngest child turns eight, leaving them with approximately $60 less a week. The National Council of Single Mothers & their children Inc. has more information on its website ncsmc.org.au

National Volunteer Week (May 14 to 20)
National President, Tony Thornton penned a letter to the editor to mark National Volunteers Week. His letter thanked volunteers and Conference members for all their efforts and was published by 45 newspapers throughout Australia. Many states and territories issued similar statements thanking their volunteers. Read more at vinnies.org.au

National Families Week (May 15 to 21)
Dr Falzon, was chosen to be an ambassador for National Families Week 2012. The week is a government-funded initiative to recognise all that families contribute to Australian society. To read more about the national week visit familiesaustralia.org.au

Upcoming events

 Behind the scenes…
Dr Falzon was at Parliament House on Budget night to give an official response to journalists waiting in the Canberra press gallery. Media officer, Colleen O’Sullivan hit the send button on the Society’s media response at 8.30pm. Prior to this, research officer Emilija Beljic was invited to the Budget ‘lock up’ at the Treasury building from 3.30pm to 7.30pm. During this time Emilija was able to assess the impact of the Budget on those whom the Society assists. The following day, Dr Falzon participated in a live press conference ABC video clip. President Tony Thornton also attended Treasurer Wayne Swan’s address to the Australian Press Club. The Society featured in a total of 60 television and radio interviews and newspaper articles about the Budget.
Reflective tweets
@TonyThornton5 “It is not enough to merely manage homelessness. Our job is to end it.”

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