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Vinnies says poverty a bipartisan national issue

The St Vincent de Paul Society has welcomed the call from Federal Opposition Leader Simon Crean to stop the "blame game" and tackle the twin scourges of poverty and inequality through a National Summit.

Vinnies Acting National President Brian Bull made the comments yesterday, at the mid-point of Anti-Poverty Week, as he called on all Federal and State political leaders to unite on this issue.

"This call for Summit endorses the call made by the heads of Australia's major faiths, the ACTU, and community organisations in their statements to the recent Poverty Inquiry, each of whom see the Australian face of poverty every day," he said.

Vinnies National Social Justice Committee President Terry McCarthy added his voice to the Summit call: "Poverty is caused not only by lack of income through adequately paid work or income support, but also by lack of access to decent education, health, housing, and childcare. Since these are shared responsibilities between the jurisdictions a summit is required."

Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) said efforts to fight poverty at a national level would falter if the states do not come on board.

"On the one hand we have a Federal Labor opposition making wonderful statements about what they would do to assist those who are most needy if they were in power," said CSSV Director of Social Policy Fr Joe Caddy. "On the other hand in Victoria, where the party is in power, levels of service to those in need of disability, drug and alcohol, mental health and child protection services are being cut. For the least well off Victorians, life is becoming more and more precarious."

St Vincent de Paul Society
Come on Vics; Join the Fight against Poverty (Catholic Social Services Victoria)

National Anti-Poverty Week
Call for a National Poverty Strategy (ABC Radio Religion Report)
Labor Commitment To Fight Poverty
Labor would convene summit to fight poverty
New Poverty Study Confirms Call by the Nationals' Leader to Spend Surplus (Jesuit Social Services)
Poverty equals pain: Churches say national strategy needed (National Council of Churches of Australia 10/9/03)
Welfare reform should target poverty, not the poor (Caritas Aotearoa/NZ)
National Anti-Poverty Week Forum, NSW Parliament House, Monday 13/10/03 | Presentation by Jesuit Social Services Policy Director Fr Peter Norden (Powerpoint Download)

16 Oct 2003