|Social Welfare||ST VINCENT DE PAUL TO STEP UP LOBBYING FOR LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS|
In a major strategy shift, the St Vincent de Paul Society says it will lobby governments to address the poverty crisis in Sydney's west after the authors of a new report said that "silent aid" is hiding government neglect.
Authors of The Great Divide: Poverty and Wealth in Western and Outer South-western Sydney, University of New South Wales Social Professor Tony Vinson, and Paul Power from the St Vincent de Paul Society, say aid must continue but the Society should draw attention to the problem.
"If we constantly run around and attempt to provide stop-gap measures, we are letting governments and community off the hook," says Mr Power. "We need to be more active in putting the finger on what are the key issues for people who are living in situations of poverty.
"We can be a bit of a salve for community problems, and particularly if people don't know exactly what the problems are they sit back and feel comfortable that the St Vincent de Paul Society and other charities are ensuring the people don't starve. The State government is developing some strategies for those areas but in our view they are not sufficient and not fast enough."
SVdP NSW President Mr Pat O'Flynn agrees, saying the Society needs to emphasise long-term solutions.
"The Society has been assisting people, but we don't believe we have been doing a great deal," he says. "It's been basically very simple - bandaid work, assisting people, giving them food, talking to them, and going away".
Cath Weekly 12:18pm 18/6/99