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Mission Australia's response to budget 2022

By Matt Collamer on Unsplash

Mission Australia’s response to Federal Budget 2022-23

Mission Australia CEO Sharon Callister is deeply concerned by inadequate investment in social and affordable housing, climate change, and income support.

Homelessness and Housing

Mission Australia CEO Sharon Callister is deeply concerned that the Federal Government’s lack of a national plan to end homelessness and inadequate additional investment in more social and affordable homes will push more people into homelessness.

“While the increased National Housing and Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC) cap is welcome, addressing the magnitude of need for affordable housing and homelessness service delivery will take much greater investment from the Federal Government.”

“The scale of the problem requires national leadership.”

“Australia is grappling with a housing affordability crisis, social housing waiting lists of more than 200,000 people, and a rate of JobSeeker and other income support payments that leave many in poverty and unable to pay their rent. We need urgent action from the Federal Government to provide long-term housing solutions that will address our social and affordable home shortfall.”

“Plans to help first home owners, unfortunately, will not help most of the 275,000 people experiencing homelessness each year.”

“The Budget also ignored the needs of those older people who are among the fastest-growing groups of those who are homeless.”

“The Royal Commission into Aged Care highlighted that our aged care system simply isn’t equipped to support people from a range of backgrounds, including people who have been homeless or are at risk. Yet, the Federal Budget included no investment for expansion and construction of new specialist homelessness residential aged care facilities that we know are sorely needed.”

“This year’s Federal Budget fails to adequately address the escalating housing and homelessness crisis despite it being a key concern for many Australians.”

“We call on the Federal Government to show true leadership by taking the helm of a national plan to end homelessness, developed in partnership with the State and Territory Governments, service providers, and people with lived experience, which will provide a framework for ending homelessness and investing long-term in social and affordable housing. This plan must also include targets to end Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander homelessness and investment in Aboriginal and community-controlled housing, including in remote areas.”

“The Federal Government’s repeated inaction on this issue is condemning thousands of people on the lowest incomes to homelessness and insecure living conditions, including many who are staring down the barrel of homelessness for the first time in their lives.”

READ ALSO: “Budget 2022 update: tax breaks, red tape reduction”

Climate Change and Housing

Sharon Callister said, “It is disappointing to see so little targeted support for reducing emissions and combatting climate change.”

“Climate change is unequivocally here, yet the Federal Budget has missed an opportunity to invest in a liveable and sustainable future for all Australians.”

“The impacts of climate change are disproportionately meted out to people on low incomes and people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”

“Through our work on the frontline, Mission Australia staff know the effects of climate change exacerbate disadvantage and impact acutely on the most vulnerable members in our communities.”

“We are incredibly concerned that extreme climate change impacts like the catastrophic East Coast floods, WA’s scorching heatwave and the 2019-2020 bushfires are increasing homelessness, poverty, and inequality. People on the lowest incomes are hit first, worst and longest and have very little resources behind them to survive, adjust and recover.”

“We have called on the Government to commit to stronger targets and fair and inclusive policies to cut climate pollution this decade.”

“As part of our commitment towards climate change action and ensuring people in our communities have a safe, secure and welcoming place to call home, we call for more well-planned, well-designed social housing stock that is built in low-risk geographical areas.”

“An increase in this type of social housing would go a long way in helping to house people on low incomes, help end homelessness and build resilience to the effects of climate change and natural disasters.”

“An adequate increase to JobSeeker and disaster payments is also vital to give people the best chance of recovering after severe floods, bushfires and heatwaves.”

Domestic and Family Violence and Homelessness

Mission Australia CEO, Sharon Callister said: “Mission Australia is pleased to see further investment in the prevention of and response to domestic and family violence including funding for emergency accommodation. However, more action is needed to boost the supply of social and affordable housing so that women and children can recover from the safety and security of stable long-term accommodation after experiencing domestic and family violence.”

“The Federal Government still must do more to help people safely escape domestic and family violence without facing the prospect of homelessness by increasing the supply of social and affordable homes.”

“Everyone knows that domestic and family violence is one of the main reasons women and children are pushed into homelessness in Australia. Our Federal Government must do more to help prevent homelessness from occurring when people are escaping violent situations. The severe shortage of long-term housing means women and children escaping domestic and family violence are often left with nowhere suitable to live.”

“While emergency accommodation provides safety to people in their time of need, there is still a critical lack of available, permanent, and safe homes for victim-survivors and their children to escape to.”

Income Support and Employment

Mission Australia CEO, Sharon Callister said: “We welcome the one-off cash payments that aim to ameliorate the escalating cost of living pressures and inflation. However, a one-off payment isn’t enough to properly support Australia’s most vulnerable and those on the lowest incomes who are hit the hardest by these pressures.”

“Against the backdrop of the growing cost of living, the Federal Government’s failure to permanently increase income support is driving up inequality, plunging people on the lowest incomes into poverty and risking poverty-induced homelessness.”

“Australia’s income support payments remain grossly inadequate for keeping people and families out of poverty and homelessness.”

“Thousands of people who rely on inadequate income support payments are swimming upstream and barely staying afloat. As a result of inadequate support, they’re contending with immense financial and rental stress and are homeless or on the brink of homelessness.”

“In 2020, the Federal Government’s additional COVID-19 income supports reduced poverty and income inequality in Australia. When those payments were removed, income inequality and poverty increased above pre-pandemic levels. By September 2021, there were 1.7 million people receiving the lowest income support payments – which is 25 per cent more than before the pandemic – and those payments still sit below the poverty line.”

“Australia’s income support must be enough to protect people from poverty and properly support people to look for work and become job-ready, instead of punishing them simply because they’re on the lowest incomes. The JobSeeker rate is a profoundly inadequate $46 a day, and doesn’t help people to survive and get back into work.”

“The Federal Government should increase the base rate of income support payments so they are adequate and keep people out of poverty and homelessness, as well as increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by at least 50 per cent.”

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Sharon Callister

Sharon Callister

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