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(ABC News/Matt Roberts)

Catholic social services agencies say the Albanese Government’s Budget has not gone far enough in alleviating poverty and helping vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians. 

Ahead of the Budget, Catholic Social Services Australia had called for a significant boost to the rate of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, and related payments to help hundreds of thousands of Australians escape poverty and severe economic hardship. 

But CSSA said that while the Budget implemented “several significant and worthy measures”, the modest increases to payments aimed at alleviating poverty and housing instability fell far short of what’s required.

“There are three million Australians, including over 750,000 children, living below the poverty line,” CSSA executive director Monique Earsman said.

“By not providing an adequate social safety net, we are trapping people in poverty. We are allowing and enabling the most vulnerable in our community to be subjected to trauma and remain in crisis.” 

CSSA commended some measures announced in Tuesday’s Budget, including funding for women and children escaping violence in the home and support for people experiencing homelessness.

“However, as many in the Church and the sector have said before, we need to intervene far earlier through an adequate social safety net system and early intervention family supports to help people avoid crisis in the first place.”

The St Vincent de Paul Society said much of the Budget was earmarked for capital works and programs that will not help people most in need or will take considerable time to become operational.

“There is substantial funding in the Budget that should have been allocated to assist Australians doing it tough,” the society’s national president Mark Gaetani said.

“For example, much-needed increases to JobSeeker and other working-age payments could be afforded by means testing the $300 per household energy rebate, which should be targeted to those who really need it.

“St Vincent de Paul Society commends the Albanese Government for its commitment to social and affordable housing and some other positives. However, a large number of households continue to struggle to get by day to day, and the Budget is unlikely to significantly improve their circumstances.”

Jesuit Social Services said the Budget’s failure to increase JobSeeker and other income support payments would “mean too many Australians are again limited from living with dignity”.

Acting CEO Stephen Ward welcomed the Budget’s focus on housing, with a doubling of dedicated funding for homelessness services and funding for a new five-year National Agreement on Social Housing with states and territories.

“While much more is needed to ensure that all Australians have a secure roof over their heads, such as a genuine increase in the supply of public housing, we welcome these measures and the Government’s commitment to addressing the country’s inadequate housing system,” he said.


Catholic Social Services Australia welcomes aspects of the budget, but more is needed (CSSA)

Budget falls short of helping Australia’s battlers (St Vincent de Paul Society) 

‘Responsible’ Federal Budget 2024:25 provides some cost of living relief (Jesuit Social Services)