Vinnies says "no" to Govt money

The National Operations Manager for the St Vincent de Paul Society said the charity "will never cease giving assistance to people (in need)" but would not accept Federal Government funding under a new welfare breaching regime.

In an ABC Radio interview yesterday, Dr John Falzon said the Society will have no part in "a return to some very old models of charity as being a means of really making people feel like they are to blame for their poverty".

Under the Federal Government scheme, people who are breached but deemed to be "extremely vulnerable", will be referred to the churches and charitable organisations to receive one-off payments of up to $650 to manage their cases.

Dr Falzon said the new Welfare to Work legislation, which will affect single parents and people with disabilities, is "unconscionable and immoral". The regime "takes away dignity, it doesn't offer hope, it doesn't act as a mechanism for really enabling people to move from welfare to work", he said.

He said the Society will not be "institutionalised" to do the Government's dirty work.

The Society will not participate in a regime that makes "people feel an even greater sense of humiliation in that even though the government is acknowledging that they're going to be in a dangerous situation and is funding this period of crisis, it's going to do so via a charity," he said.

But Dr Falzon admitted that people who will be caught in the breaching regime will still come to the Society for help.

"What we've always maintained is yes we will give the charitable assistance, we will be there as a charity," he said. "(But) we won't be accepting government money to do that, we won't be entering into a contract."

Dr Falzon said the Society is also concerned about the new workplace changes introduced last month, saying it would make the situation of some vulnerable people more precarious.

"People who are going to be pushed by the Welfare to Work legislation into that low end of the labour market, are also the people conceivably, who will be subjected to compliance with Australian workplace agreements," he said.

"Who knows what kind of conditions will be removed from those working arrangements, particularly where children are involved."

Vinnies say "no" to government money (ABC Radio The Religion Report 5/4/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Vincent de Paul Society

Vinnies rejects welfare reforms (CathNews 22/11/05)
Church groups pessimistic about welfare overhaul (CathNews 21/11/05)
Vinnies says welfare reforms lack fairness (CathNews 10/11/05)
Welfare package changes 'not enough' (CathNews 9/11/05)

6 Apr 2006