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Catholic Welfare says ALP Tax Policy "goes some way" towards poverty fix

Catholic Welfare Australia has welcomed Federal Election Campaign's renewed attention to the poor and disadvantaged, specifically yesterday's launch of the ALP Tax Policy.

In a statement released yesterday, the peak body representing Catholic welfare organisations said Australia's current level of economic prosperity "puts this nation in a unique position to provide much needed assistance and support to those most in need".

"Catholic Welfare Australia is encouraged by initiatives in the Labor Party's Tax policy that will assist jobless families to return to work without penalising their eligibility for the Family Tax Benefit," said Catholic Welfare Australia Chair Fr Joe Caddy. "This policy needs to assessed in the light of other welfare payments which may have a bearing on the Effective Marginal Tax Rates which play their own part in creating disincentive for people to return to the workforce."

The Better Family System designed to avoid debt traps, simplify means testing and deliver benefits through fortnightly cash assistance payments is a much needed improvement on the way in which Family Tax Benefit is currently delivered.

"The proposed Working Tax Bonus for people earning under $52,000 will undoubtedly be a welcome relief," he said. "The fact that it is a targeted tax cut is a positive measure."

"We acknowledge that there is a proposed injection of funding aimed at extending programs such as Jobs Education Training (JET), childcare gap fee relief, numeracy and literacy training and access to TAFE training places through the Families in Work component of the package," said Fr Caddy. "This part of the package is a welcome initiative as it goes some way to addressing issues of structural poverty. It will be important to ensure that any proposed programs provide the required help to the people who need it, where they need it."

"This package will be welcomed by many low-income families however we remain concerned that some of those most in need - like sole parent families with young children - may require additional targeted assistance to ensure they do not end up worse off under this proposal than they currently are," said Fr Caddy.

Labor's Tax Policy goes some way to addressing structural poverty in this country (Catholic Welfare Australia 7/9/04)

Tax relief for all Australian taxpayers & A better Family Payments system (ALP Tax Policy text download)
ALP's billions for battlers (The Mercury 8/9/04)
Unions back ALP tax plans (Sydney Morning Herald/AAP 7/9/04)
Some gains but some pain for jobless families (Brotherhood of St Laurence 7/9/04)
Tax Plan Needs More Work (Council of Social Services of NSW 7/9/04)
Catholic Welfare Australia

8 Sep 2004