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Catholic office says Vic Budget will help poor

Yesterday's Victorian State Budget indicates the Bracks Government is listening to the needs of disadvantaged Victorians, according to Fr Joe Caddy, Social Policy Director at Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV).

CSSV is the peak body for 65 Catholic welfare organisations.

"Our initial analysis suggests the policy directions of the Budget are headed the right way and promise some relief for low-income Victorians," he said.

"Increasing funding to support carers of the disabled and children in foster care is a very important step in recognising the true financial costs of caring for vulnerable families."

But he was disappointed that many of the positive initiatives would be funded through regressive revenue-raising measures.

"We fear that the further indexing of fines and government charges will have a heavy impact on the pockets of the poor," he said.

Meanwhile Catholic Health Australia (CHA) issued a statement ahead of next Tuesday's Federal Budget.

CHA CEO Francis Sullivan said speculation over the federal budget tax cuts threatens the size and scope of the aged care funding package.

He relates the Budget scenario to the delayed Federal Government response to the Hogan Aged Care Inquiry.

"Since the much anticipated aged care funding announcement has been postponed to budget night, CHA is concerned that the budget will deliver a diminished and less substantial response to the erosion of aged care services."

"CHA's research indicates that the gap between the costs of care and the growth of the Commonwealth subsidies is already approximately $250 million a year. In addition urgent capital investment is needed."

Bracks Budget: Not bold but fair enough (Catholic Social Services Victoria 4/5/04 - not available online)
Tax Cuts Slicing Aged Care Funding Package (Catholic Health Australia 4/5/04)

Families targeted in budget (The Age 5/5/04)
Catholic Health Australia

5 May 2004