The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (the Centre) welcomes many of the Federal Government’s budget initiatives announced yesterday, but recognises that much more needs to be done given that more than one million Australians, many of them children, continue to live in poverty.
The Centre CEO Deb Tsorbaris noted, “Still, there is much to be pleased about.”
“The historic investments in the care economy, Medicare and cost of living relief will support the immediate health and material needs of children and families and the payment to single parent families increasing from eight to 14 years is a welcome acknowledgement that the needs of children do not suddenly stop when they turn eight,” Ms Tsorbaris said.
The Centre noted the Government’s $14.6 billion cost of living plan will support vulnerable children, young people and their families and ease household budget pressures which included the $3 billion investment in direct energy bill relief that will benefit many families, as will increasing Rental Assistance by 15% for low-income renters.
Ms Tsorbaris acknowledged the increase to Jobseeker but urged the Government to invest in a substantial rise to related Centrelink Support payments, “$40 a fortnight increase in Jobseeker will benefit many, but the Centre understands that there are families and young people who need the government’s assistance to lift them above the poverty line.”
The Centre welcomes new programs to tackle entrenched disadvantage, which includes a $200 million commitment to community organisations, among others, to keep delivering for people in need in their local communities.
The $590m pledge to end violence against women and their children is a much-needed commitment. The further $326.7 million will ensure the safety of woman and their children is non-negotiable and assist in the fight to end all forms of violence.”
The Centre also noted the Government’s pledge to make the NDIS sustainable. We will continue to advocate with our members to ensure the NDIS stays true to its commitment to supporting children and young people with disability, their parents and carers.
Ms Tsorbaris also highlighted additional Budget measures that would have positive impacts on children, young people, and families, “it is pleasing to see the government’s commitment to more affordable early childhood education and care, and enhanced paid parental leaves, particularly for women wanting to return to, or participate fully, in the workforce.
“With often the most vulnerable people being affected by climate related emergencies, we welcome the Government’s investment to develop Australia’s first National Climate Risk Assessment and a National Adaptation Plan.”
“This Budget is a more compassionate one than we have become used to seeing but even so, we need to do much more to create a fit for purpose national social security system that raises children, young people and families out of poverty,” Ms Tsorbaris said.
Please find the Centre’s 2023-24 Federal Budget ‘At a Glance’ table here.