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Catholic Welfare says national strategy is way to tackle poverty

Catholic Welfare Australia has described as "lukewarm" the State and Federal Governments' collective commitment to fighting poverty in Australia.

The organisation said on Friday that a rigorous national strategy with ambitious targets is necessary, together with an independent umpire to monitor the progress of the governments.

In its submission to the Commonwealth Senate Inquiry into Poverty and Financial Hardship, entitled Poor Choices, Catholic Welfare Australia called on the Federal Government to reduce adult poverty by 50% of currents levels, and child poverty by 75% of current levels over a generation.

Spokesperson Fr Joe Caddy said: "This submission calls on Government to adopt a preferential option for the poor by making the fight against poverty the heart and soul of the daily business of Government."

This submission challenges Government to develop a national strategy for poverty alleviation, highlighting the current successes of the UK and Irish Governments in implementing such strategies.

Another key recommendation of Poor Choices is the establishment of a Commission for Poverty Reduction. The proposed Commission would act as an independent umpire that would monitor the performance of Government against its poverty strategy and targets. The Commission would also be able to conduct inquiries and research into poverty alleviation.

"We are calling on Government to undertake serious welfare reform, improve aspects of the Job Network, support low-income families and fight rural poverty through specific tax measures," said Fr Caddy.

Catholic Welfare Australia

Catholic Welfare Australia
Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee: Poor Choices - Inquiry Into Poverty and Financial Hardship (Catholic Welfare Australia)
Parliament of Australia - Senate: Inquiry into Poverty and Financial Hardship

14 Apr 2003