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Catholic Welfare says Govt 'mean-streak towards disadvantaged' continues

Catholic Welfare Australia has said believes the Government's decision to make changes to the Disability Support Pension in Tuesday night's Budget is, in essence, re-defining what is means to be disabled in Australia today.

"The 'bad back' scenario offered by Mr Costello exposes all people living with disabilities to demonisation," said Mr O'Connor, National Director of Catholic Welfare Australia. "Once again we see a pattern emerging from the Government that puts everyone within a marginalised group under the microscope in the hope of catching a few people out. First it was the dole bludgers and jobs snobs, then the queue jumpers and now disability pensioners."

"The fact of the matter is that there is no accurate data regarding disabilities," said Mr O'Connor. "Questions on disabilities were withdrawn from the recent Census due to cost."

"The Government does appear to be making a concerted effort to prepare the nation for our Aging Population by increasing funding in the Aged Care sector. A similar approach needs to be taken in the Disability sector," Mr O'Connor said. "With an aging population you would expect there to be an increase in age related disabilities. It is an issue of "wear and tear" for many and it is in the nation's best interest to improve health outcomes for all people."

"The Government must open up discussion regarding the needs of people with disabilities in much the same way as they are currently doing with the aged," said Mr O'Connor. "If Mr Costello is true to his Inter-Generational focus then we need to discuss and explore the range of approaches that should be taken to tackle the problem in the long term. The Government has not asked what can be done to prevent disability or to better treat disabilities to reduce their impact."

Catholic Welfare Australia


16 May 2002