Budget provides short-term relief, but lacks long-term vision

29 March 2022

The Federal Budget provides modest relief to address sharp rises in the cost of living but overlooks those already doing it tough and left worse off as a result of the pandemic.

“Without an adequate social security system, too many Australians will continue to live in poverty, and it is these people who will be exposed to the worst impacts of current and future crises, including economic shocks and climate-induced disasters. Whilst welcome, the one-off payments do very little to address this – now or in the long-term,” said Dr Lucia Boxelaar, Acting Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL).

“We know that there is great willingness in the community to support those who are doing it tough. The federal government needs to invest in a more equal and resilient Australia for all of us.”

“Much more needs to be done to address the structural barriers to work for people who are long-term unemployed. Many of these jobseekers are mature age, living with disability or have additional barriers to finding employment. Rather than blaming and punishing individuals, the Federal Government needs to invest in the social infrastructure and meaningful, tailored employment support that people need to find work. And, of course, investment in adequate income support is needed for those who cannot work or can't get enough work to make ends meet.”

“Whilst we welcome investment in addressing youth unemployment, like other measures in this Budget, the ReBoot program offers only short-term support to the most disadvantaged young people. With youth unemployment double the national average, we need to invest in local, collaborative efforts which provide long-term solutions for young people, the community and employers,” said Dr Boxelaar.

“On climate, we are disappointed there is not a clear and ambitious plan to support households to respond to climate change and prepare for a low carbon future.

“What we need is investment in lasting measures to reduce cost of living pressures, through targeted home energy efficiency and rooftop solar upgrades for low-income households. Such measures substantially reduce bills, reduce emissions and improve housing quality.”

Rather than offering support to those who need it most, this Budget leaves those facing disadvantage exposed. “Addressing inequality is good for people and good for the economy. It’s time to make policy choices that turn the corner on fairness,” said Dr Boxelaar.

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) is a social justice organisation working to prevent and alleviate poverty across Australia.

Media inquiries: Bridie Riordan M: 0491 159 256, media@bsl.org.au