Federal Budget 2017
- Welcome permanent extension of homelessness funding
- Inadequate measures to alleviate rental stress
- Pleased to see investment in employment supports for vulnerable Australians
- Concerned at efforts to make Budget savings from vulnerable Australians
- Welcome additional NDIS investment, concerned some people experiencing mental illness may miss out
James Toomey, Executive Operations and Fundraising said: “We have been advocating for sustained homelessness funding for years and are very glad to have some certainty in this year’s Budget that vital homelessness services will receive ongoing funding, without an annual fight.
The new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement will help to ensure vulnerable people have the support they need to prevent homelessness occurring and to move swiftly out of homelessness when it does occur.
Mr Toomey said the long-term solution for homelessness is a safe place to call home, saying: “Disappointingly, the Budget contained inadequate assistance for the many people in rental stress who remain just one step away from homelessness. Rents are becoming increasingly unaffordable for older and younger Australians alike, with those on Newstart and the age pension struggling to find a home within their means.”
Chris Bratchford, Mission Australia Housing Executive said:
We welcome the bond aggregator and the 60 per cent capital gains tax discount incentive as an important step in facilitating investment in social and affordable housing. These measures on their own will not be adequate to address the severe shortage in social and affordable housing stock to provide homes for vulnerable Australians. We need further Government investment through an affordable housing fund to meet the “yield gap” and make below-market housing sustainable.
Mission Australia welcomed Government investment in programs that support vulnerable people to enter the workforce, including additional funding for the Parents Next program and for Disability Employment Services.
Mr Toomey said: “These are programs that successfully support clients on their journey to independence and we welcome their expansion to new areas and new client groups.”
Mr Toomey warned the proposed welfare demerit system could push already vulnerable people into even more precarious situations, including homelessness.
Cutting their income actually reduces their capacity to look for jobs. By stopping welfare payments, this places extraordinary pressure on already vulnerable individuals, and stretches the resources of community services that are already buckling under demand.
“We have consistently said those least advantaged in our society should not be made to bear the brunt of Budget savings. And it is in this light that we are calling on the Government to review the proposed welfare measures to ensure that they are not further disadvantaging the most vulnerable Australians and expecting them to carry the Budget burden.”
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Mission Australia is pleased to see the Budget’s inclusion of full funding of NDIS. The organisation also welcomes the new funding for people with psychosocial disability who do not meet the criteria for the NDIS and investment in building NDIS workforce capacity.
Mr Toomey said:
While we welcome these measures, Mission Australia continues to be concerned about the gaps that have opened up for people experiencing mental illness. The proposed funding levels are inadequate for vulnerable people who are not eligible for NDIS packages and risk losing the vital mental health supports they currently access.
“We look forward to working with the Government to ensure a long-term solution for people experiencing mental illness who need community-based mental health programs as they continue on their journey to recovery.”
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