Commission supports establishment of Poverty Task Force
Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission told the Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into Poverty and Financial Hardship on Monday that Australia needs a task force charged with placing the issue of poverty "firmly on the national agenda".
The Commission made a written submission to the Inquiry earlier this year and used its appearance at this week's Brisbane hearings to call for poverty to be placed on the national agenda.
"There has been more talk in recent times about the level of poverty and how to measure it than the reality of poverty, how it affects the lives of many Australians and ways to address it," said Executive Officer Peter Arndt.
"We need to be talking about wealth distribution as well as wealth creation as the Australian Bishops made clear in their landmark statement in 1992 Common Wealth for the Common Good," he said.
Mr Arndt told the Committee hearing that fairness must be about meeting needs and not giving all Australians the same benefits irrespective of their need.
"Too much is given to people on higher incomes without assessing their need," he said.
Mr Arndt repeated the Commission's call for the Federal Government to deal with the use of family trusts as a tax avoidance measure by wealthy Australians.
"Reform of family trusts could bring in $700 million to pay for better health and education services," he said.
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (Brisbane)
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (Brisbane) | Written submission to Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into Poverty and Financial Hardship
Parliament of Australia - Senate - Inquiry into Poverty and Financial Hardship | Submissions
6 Aug 2003