Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand has joined the chorus of calls for urgent government action to improve the country’s welfare safety net.
Good Shepherd is a community services organisation that helps women, girls and families experiencing disadvantage. The organisation said the release of Australian Council of Social Service Inequality in Australia report this week demonstrates that women, young people and lower-paid workers are bearing the greatest economic impact of the pandemic.
Good Shepherd chief executive Stella Avramopoulos said the research demonstrates the most vulnerable are being hit hardest by the pandemic and there is a risk of others joining this growing group of people.
“People are overwhelmed, they are distressed and unable to see a way out of their growing financial pressures,” Ms Avramopoulos said.
“We are calling for structural changes to the social welfare safety net, with new service models and cross-sector strategies to respond to the significant number of Australians now in financial distress.
She said JobSeeker had been a critical aspect of this safety net and is needed to help build a financial wellbeing roadmap for Australians to recover.
“Good Shepherd’s financial counsellors, family violence workers and other front-line staff have supported many thousands of people since this pandemic hit. People need to be safe and healthy in their communities, they are desperate for reliable information and support to help them navigate the multiple challenges they are facing,” Ms Avramopoulos said.
Most vulnerable hardest hit by pandemic (Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand)