Budget should take a long-term view

When next week’s Federal Budget is delivered, UnitingCare Australia will be looking for programs and policies that invest in people, to advance Australia’s resilience and productivity.

“The Budget needs to do two things at once. We need to live within our means. And we need to invest wisely to improve future living standards. This means we need to consider increasing government revenue, and ensure that all aspects of the budget recognise the value of upfront investment in people,” said Lin Hatfield Dodds, national director of UnitingCare Australia.

“Tax loopholes need to be closed and investments need to be targeted towards Australians who face barriers to participation in the economy and community life.”

“Adequate payments for recipients of welfare, and provision of access to important services remain key priorities.”

“Funds that support vulnerable people provide a great return on investment. Providing support helps people reach their potential, and yields savings down the track as we prevent social problems from escalating. It also enhances the quality of our collective life, making Australia a better place to live,” said Lin.

“Now that the Welfare Reform Review has been completed we expect to see the best recommendations from that review being implemented. There need to be substantial discussions about retirement income. An ongoing mechanism to ensure welfare payments are adequate should be established and a new IT system for the administration of welfare is also needed.”

“Childcare and early learning will be a large item in this year’s budget. Changes should be made to make the system simpler, but more importantly, to improve access for children from low-income families.”

“Too many measures last year tried to cut costs by slashing investment in people. This actually increases future calls on the budget, and is short sighted. We support careful review of expenditure programs to ensure they are fair, and deliver good value.  And we support investment in people, because this is important for the long-term fiscal and social health of Australia.”

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