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2019 Federal Budget – No relief for the poorest in our region

April 10, 2019

2019 Federal Budget – No relief for the poorest in our region

This year’s federal budget announcement contains little relief for the many vulnerable residents or the hard working community services organisations in our region.

In fact it’s a cruel blow, that while high income earners will receive generous tax cuts, all people on pensions will receive is the $75 one off energy payment. Even this meagre measure has been denied to people on unemployment benefits, and there is once again no increase to Newstart and Youthstart, making it 25 years since any real increase in the Newstart allowance. We must continue to remind our political leaders that keeping people living under the poverty line is not conducive to employment outcomes. It is difficult to look for work while you are concentrating on day to day survival.

There are few bright points for vulnerable people, but there are some Budget initiatives to support ageing in place and enable older people to live well in their own homes. The announcement of a further 10,000 new Home Care Packages is welcome, but while this is a step forward, let us not forget that there is currently a shortfall in excess of 100,000 packages across the country.

There is also an $84m commitment to carer respite. Carers contribute so much to the lives of those they care for but they also contribute to the Australian community. The recognition that they deserve and need some time out is a national acknowledgement for their contribution. Particularly for young carers, this means time to study or work towards their own future.

The investment in mental health services is also welcome. Maintaining good mental health, and being able to access services when people are struggling with mental health issues is a major factor in being able to live a good, productive, and enjoyable life for many people. We only hope that the $460m investment in mental health services will bring additional services to the south east of NSW.

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