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Social Justice Council adds voice to Poverty Forum call

At the conclusion of National Anti-Poverty Week, the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) has added its name to the list of Catholic organisations calling on the Federal Government to convene a national forum on poverty.

In recent days, other organisations such as the St Vincent de Paul Society have made similar calls in recent days.

ACSJC Chairman Bishop Christopher Saunders said that while charities like St Vincent de Paul provide assistance to individuals and families in desperate need on a daily basis, there remains a need for inquiries such as the current Senate Inquiry into Poverty and Financial Hardship which is due to report in November.

"More can be done to address the causes and consequences of poverty in a co-ordinated way by including all levels of government and sectors of our society.

Meanwhile Catholic Welfare Australia has warned that the fight against poverty cannot get caught up in party politics.

Welcoming the Labor Party's 'Commitment to Fight Poverty' launched earlier this week, the coordinating body for Catholic welfare agencies in Australia cautioned against poverty becoming caught up in partisan politics. It called on all political leaders to unite in addressing poverty which now affects around one in nine Australians.

"Australia is too fast becoming a country that is divided between the haves and have nots," said spokesperson Fr Joe Caddy. "While this has been a decade of unprecedented prosperity, those on the margins are being left further and further behind."

"Our failure to address poverty will have grave implications for social cohesion and Australia risks becoming a deeply divided nation," he said. "This can be averted but only with a united national response."

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
Catholic Welfare Australia

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
Catholic Welfare Australia
Vinnies says poverty a bipartisan national issue (16/10/03)
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)

17 Oct 2003