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Welfare agency lists priorities for 2007 budget


Abolishing full time "work for the dole" and a public inquiry into the housing needs of low-income people are part of Catholic Social Services' wish list for next year's Federal budget.

The proposals are part of the Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) 2007 Federal Budget Submission, which makes over 30 recommendations focusing on "a better deal" for unemployed people and families, according to the agency's statement.

Employment, family services, tax reform, welfare changes, housing, childcare, mental health and dental health all feature in the submission.

According to its statement, CSSA told the government that as a first step towards a public homelessness inquiry, the First Home-Owner Grant should be means tested to allow low-income households to buy their own home, rather than having to rely on the rental market.

"Around 100,000 Australians are estimated to be homeless on any given night. Demand for public housing has increased in the past ten years but the number of dwellings has fallen during that time, exposing more low income people to the private rental market," the statement said.

"At the same time the private rental market is increasingly outside the reach of people on low incomes."

The submission for next year's Budget, to be delivered in May, also suggested that full time work for the dole be abolished.

CSSA recommended that a vocational work experience program, involving both intensive personal assistance and 12 months' work experience on award wages or equivalent, replace the scheme.

Other recommendations relate to the eight-week non-payment breaching scheme, which CSSA continues to oppose.

There is also a proposal for the Childcare Tax Rebate to be replaced by a Child Care Benefit Guarantee, "ensuring all families using approved childcare would receive a minimum of 30 per cent of the government recommended fee."

Executive Director, Frank Quinlan, said all budget measures must be targeted to address pockets of poverty and social disadvantage identified around Australia and those measures must ensure social disadvantage is not exacerbated.


SOURCE
Jobs and families a priority for 2007 budget (CSSA Media Release, 8/12/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Social Services Australia

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11 Dec 2006