Advocacy, Housing, Press

Our budget response

Written byKim Gannon
Published on30 Mar, 2022
Fb Posts Budget Response

RELEASED March 30, 2022

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies says he’s disappointed the Federal Government did not invest more in social housing, increases to Jobseeker, and measures addressing climate change in the budget.

Mr Davies said the Federal government needed to get Australia ready for the future and not pretend it could return to a world without climate change, a European war and the pandemic.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on regional housing,” Mr Davies said. “The Australian housing system was already unaffordable but during the pandemic a wave of city refugees fleeing lockdowns arrived, stressing already overheated housing markets in towns like Lismore, Tweed Heads, Toowoomba and Ballarat.

“Homelessness surged. Regional Australia is crying out for more social housing and the budget was the chance to properly invest in our communities and create jobs.  We need national leadership to help solve the crisis and sadly this budget represents a missed opportunity.”

Mr Davies said the government also needed to increase the rate of Jobseeker and related payments.

“How can anyone survive on $46 a day?” he said. “This amount is unliveable and does little to help someone get back on their feet. People need an adequate income to get back into work and recover from events like the recent natural disasters”

Mr Davies did welcome

  • Extra spending for domestic violence supports –$1.3 billion over the next six years has been pledged to help women experiencing domestic violence.
  • Access to cheaper or free medicines sooner under plans to reduce the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme safety net thresholds.
  • Additional mental health funding

Mr Davies also reminded the government to allocate funds for communities impacted by the flooding disaster. Supports could include:

  1. Effective rapid disaster response systems for regional communities.
  2. Creating a stock of rapidly deployable temporary housing for disaster zones
  3. A job subsidy (like Jobkeeper) for people whose businesses or jobs were lost to the floods
  4. A natural disaster re-insurance scheme to support people whose homes were no longer insurable, including people living in flood zones or at risk of fire
  5. Funding for long term mental health and related support for people impacted by natural disasters.

Mr Davies also said he was unhappy with the lack of investment in climate change mitigation, including cuts to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

“This is bewildering as climate change is unequivocally affecting our communities with people in disadvantaged areas the hardest hit,” he said. “Cutting funds in this area makes no sense.”