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Budget 2016: moral courage long overdue

5 May 2016 Wesley Mission news

Wesley Mission has welcomed a number of initiatives in the 2016/17 Federal Budget handed down on Tuesday 3 May 2016 by Treasurer Scott Morrison.

Key announcements effecting Australian Communities include:

  • new initiative Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) Program, will help more vulnerable young job seekers to move off welfare and into employment
  • targeting welfare abuse to protect our social safety net and ensure it is there for Australia’s most vulnerable, in particular those with disabilities
  • changes to better target superannuation tax concessions
  • funding for health and education.

Wesley Mission CEO, the Rev Dr Keith Garner shares his thoughts.

“The budget embraces several measures such as the initiative aimed at getting up to 120,000 young people into work by making them job ready and skilled.

“However while there is a focus on new social initiatives, the government has also shown a degree of long overdue moral courage in cracking down on multinational tax evasion and wealthy superannuation loopholes.”

 “The focus for the past few years has been on cutting expenditure with little focus on revenue streams. This budget goes part of the way in addressing this imbalance,” he said.

Wesley Mission also welcomes the flexible superannuation initiatives for middle income earners, the lowering of the superannuation contributions cap, and the reintroduction of a structure to stop low income earners from being penalised when they make contributions to their super fund.

“We need to ensure that our superannuation system is focussed on sustainability supporting those most at risk of being dependent on an Age Pension in their retirement,” Treasurer Scott Morrison said during the announcement.

The Rev Dr Keith Garner said Wesley Mission is also delighted that funding for financial counselling services has been continued, having provided more than 6,000 free and confidential financial counselling sessions to desperate individuals and families in the past year.

“For every dollar spent on financial counselling more than $5 is saved within the system,” said the Rev Dr Keith Garner. “The cost of cutting financial counselling places extra strain on the public health system, mental health system, courts and family court systems. We are pleased the government has seen the efficacy of such a vital service, particularly when insolvencies nationwide have risen during the past four quarters.”

Homelessness remains a national shame. There was little in this budget to address the issue of housing and rental affordability. Wesley Mission sees the growing demand for homelessness each day having provided more than 73,700 nights of accommodation for the homeless last year.