Federal Budget shifts focus towards those experiencing poverty and disadvantage

10 May 2023

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) welcomes the strategic shift in the Federal Budget towards improving the lives of those experiencing poverty and disadvantage.

“The Federal Government has shown they are prepared to tackle critical issues impacting low-income households in Australia and to make investments to grow economic and social inclusion and capability across the country,” said BSL Executive Director Travers McLeod.

“For a country as wealthy as Australia, these measures are long overdue. Many of the investments made in the Federal Budget will be life-changing, if not lifesaving.”

The initial moves to lift Jobseeker and related payments, increase rent assistance, alleviate energy price pain, reduce costs for healthcare and medicine, and support our education and care workforce are steps in the right direction to provide essential relief to those in our community doing it toughest.

Ending the punitive ParentsNext program and extending the Single Parenting Payment to when their youngest child turns 14 will be transformational for single parents and their children, especially women.

Creating a Net Zero Authority, investing in energy upgrades, growing foundational skills, and backing local, community-led responses to intergenerational disadvantage will help to build economic security and wellbeing in areas of greatest need.

BSL welcomes the uniform increase to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other payments, although we note it falls well short of the substantial increase recommended by the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee and Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce. A clear timeframe to address the adequacy of these payments – and substantially reform employment services – should now be set.

“This Budget is only the start if Australia is serious about making poverty reduction a much greater national priority. Substantial economic and social reform will be required through multiple budgets for sustainable growth and to safeguard and improve the essential services Australians depend on.”

“As a country, we need to emulate Canada and New Zealand and commit to legislated measures and targets on poverty reduction and economic inclusion. Without a sustained effort, Australia will deny more children and adults dignified lives and do great harm to our national prosperity.”

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

Travers McLeod, Executive Director BSL, is available for media comment on the Federal Budget

For media enquiries contact: Steph Jones - 0482 163 395
or steph.jones@bsl.org.au