Budget Divides Australia

13 May 2003

"The books may be balanced, but many of those most in need have been left further behind by this budget," said Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia.


"It is tragic that a budget focussed on security delivers nothing for those who are least secure."

"We live in an increasingly divided society. Real security is about having a roof over your head. Real security is about having a job. Real security is about feeling that you belong. Security for all requires a fair go for everyone. Poverty and social exclusion hurt us all."

"Addressing poverty and encouraging full participation requires sustained commitment. The longer we ignore these challenges the harder they will be to address."

"While the Budget contains some much needed extra funding for valuable programs such as Community Aged Care Packages, the Home and Community Care Program, and the Special Needs Subsidy Scheme for children with high support needs, the long term effects of the changes to Medicare remain unclear and there are no major initiatives to build stronger families and communities."

Rev. Elenie Poulos, National Director of UnitingJustice Australia, said, "This Budget represents a missed opportunity to put forward a vision for a fair and inclusive society. It is more about being seen to be tough on people on income support than addressing the real issues. It is mean-spirited and demonstrates the Government's lack of interest in Australians living on the edges."