Churches warn Govt about job welfare changes
Church-based employment organisations including Catholic Welfare Australia have warned senior federal ministers the planned shake-up of the welfare system is so harsh it will be hard to find work for the increased number of people looking for jobs.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports today that representatives from the churches and other welfare groups have lobbied against the changes since they were announced in the May budget, fearing more single parents and people with disabilities will be pushed into poverty.
"The vast majority of jobseekers want desperately to move from welfare to work and want to enjoy all the benefits that brings for them and their families," the executive director of Catholic Welfare Australia, Frank Quinlan, said yesterday.
"What the package needs is greater investment in job creation, skills creation and an all-out attack on the poverty traps that currently keep low-income earners poor."
Church and welfare groups yesterday met about 40 Coalition and Labor members to brief them on what they believe will happen if the welfare-to-work changes go ahead.
Government backbencher Judi Moylan organised a briefing for Coalition members earlier this week. She is concerned about creating a new "underclass" of people trapped in poverty.
The proposed changes have already gone to cabinet three times and the final policy is expected to be announced shortly.
Church groups have been telling ministers there will not be enough jobs that are flexible enough for people with children or suitable for people with physical or mental disabilities.
Church-based members of the Job Network, including Catholic Welfare, the Salvation Army, UnitingCare and Anglicare Australia, account for about 20% of the employment agencies the Federal Government uses.
They represent a higher number of people with disabilities than other employment agencies and are already finding it difficult to find enough suitable jobs.
Welfare plan a trap, say church groups (Sydney Morning Herald 16/9/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Welfare Australia
Centacare Employment (Archdiocese of Brisbane)
Church pressure wins Govt change of heart on unemployed (CathNEws 5/9/05)
Federal Budget boosts family relationships (CathNews 11/5/05)
Catholic Welfare stands up for long-term unemployed (CathNews 2/5/05)
Church win on access to hospital chaplains (Catholic Weekly 18/9/05)
16 Sep 2005