Catholic Welfare says mutual obligation a "two-way street"

Ahead of tomorrow night's Federal Budget, Catholic Welfare Australia has commented on the anticipated "suite of measures" to encourage people to join the workforce, suggesting that society cannot use the rhetoric of mutual obligation to hide from its responsiblity to provide the disadvantaged with real opportunities for employment.

Catholic Welfare Australia executive director Frank Quinlan told The Australian that mutual obligation is a "two-way street".

"Society can't forget its obligation to provide the disadvantaged with real opportunities for employment, real opportunities for training and education, and real income support when things don't work out," he said.

Treasurer Peter Costello yesterday confirmed that the budget would include a "suite of measures" to encourage people to join the workforce.

These will include incentives for sole parents and disabled pensioners to take up work, with the Government to ease effective marginal tax rates on some of the most vulnerable in the community.

There is also expected to be a big focus on the budget surplus with Access Economics predicting the Government is awash with money. It predicts the surplus both this year and in 2005-06 will be more than double previous estimates made by the Treasury last December.

"The river of revenue is now a torrent thanks to China's emergence as an industrial giant, and a strong domestic (economic) cycle pumped up by interest rates that were held too low for too long," says Access director Chris Richardson.

The Access calculations support comments made by John Howard last week that people would be surprised by the strength of the surplus. "I think it will probably attract attention," he said.

The welfare sector yesterday called on the Government to invest $2 billion a year in unemployed people to assist them back into the workplace.

President of the Australian Council of Social Service Andrew McCallum said it was important to assist "those one and a half million social security recipients who are still jobless after years of strong growth in the economy".

Tax cuts to offset rising living costs (The Australian 9/5/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Welfare Australia

Tax cuts for all in budget (Sydney Morning Herald 9/5/05)

9 May 2005