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Catholic Welfare alarm at talk of Govt welfare cuts

Catholic Welfare Australian chairman Fr Joe Caddy has expressed concern at Federal Opposition claims that the Government is looking to cut welfare payments for single mothers and disability pensioners.

"Anything that even would hint at reducing incomes into those most vulnerable families in Australia would be of grave concern to us," he told the ABC.

Labor has produced a leaked government document to back up its claims that the Government wants to cut income support payments.

Labor says the document from the Federal Community Services Minister Senator Kay Patterson calls for the creation of a new "Working Age Payment" for people who receive income support.

Prime Minister John Howard said the Government is looking at ways to improve the welfare system. He said no decision has been made yet, but that the Government was not going to cut the necessary level of benefits.

Fr Caddy said he would only welcome changes that provide improvements.

"Anything to help them would be good, but anything to hinder them would be terrible," he said.

He stressed that people who receive the benefits are already struggling to stay above the poverty line.

Govt welfare scheme raises concerns (ABC 29/3/04)

One payment, pension cuts mooted (Daily Telegraph 29/3/04)
Libs plan welfare reforms (Herald-Sun 29/3/04)
Single welfare payment leaked (Sydney Morning Herald 29/3/04)
Catholic Welfare Australia
Interview: John Howard (Channel 9 Sunday 28/3/04)

29 Mar 2004