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Budget fails Australia’s most vulnerable

  • 10 May 2018


The final federal budget before what is anticipated to be a closely contested federal election includes a range of tax cuts for many Australian workers and some funding for education and early childhood services but fails to address the ever-growing inequality across the country.

Simply put, it is those in the greatest need of support who have yet again been left behind.

The federal government has ignored calls from a chorus of people, including many businesses, to raise the rate of the Newstart allowance. Newstart has not increased in real terms for almost 25 years and there has been increasing community awareness about the significant challenges faced by a recipient trying to survive on just $278 a week.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie told ABC that raising Newstart should have been the priority of the budget if the government was serious about helping low-income Australians.

Organisations including ACOSS, Refugee Council of Australia and the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia have also highlighted the proposed budget measure of forcing skilled migrants to wait four years for welfare payments.

On Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters: 'They come as skilled migrants and of course they come here on the basis they are going to be employed. It's only right they should be working here until they become entitled to that benefit (welfare).'

This proposal is in stark contrast to all the evidence about the best way to create and promote social cohesion — and will only serve to generate further hardship among already marginalised communities.


"The government clearly has its eyes on trying to remain in power next year. It is deeply disappointing that this is at the expense of some of the most marginalised members of the community."


Jesuit Social Services delivers the African Australian Inclusion Program in partnership with NAB, to provide paid work opportunities to skilled African Australians who face barriers to corporate employment in Australia.

Through this initiative the organisation has seen first-hand some of the challenges skilled people can face, including applying for hundreds of jobs and not receiving a single interview.

Many of these people have much to offer Australia but find it extremely difficult to get a foot in the door. They should be supported and nurtured, not have their experiences compounded by making it harder for them to receive government assistance.

Six months after the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory handed down its landmark final