Inequality in Australia is worsening and I am passionate about halting this trend. Every one of us deserves the opportunity to meet our potential and contribute to our community. Removing barriers to participation is essential if we are to build a just society.
I am glad to have the opportunity to speak with you in my relatively new capacity as Shadow Assistant Minister for Families and Communities. That is a lot of words, but amongst other things it means I’m responsible on the Labor side for thinking about the work done by the part of the community sector that are funded by the Department of Social Services.
The Government has back flipped on yet another of its Financial Capability and Wellbeing grant decisions. The announcement today to extend funding to emergency relief services is further indication that the Minister has bungled the roll out of community services grants. Mr Fletcher is clearly out of his depth and has spent the last seven days plugging holes of his own making.
The Government has bungled the rollout of yet another of its Financial Capability and Wellbeing grant decisions. Reports today that Minister Fletcher has extended existing Financial Counselling grants for an additional three months to organisations who recently had their funding cut add to a week of chaos. This time, Mr Fletcher had no intention of announcing this to the public and instead tried to hide it on the DSS website in the dead of night.
The Government has back flipped on another of its uncaring and illogical funding decisions. Reports of the Government’s backflip on National Debt Helpline funding have exposed its chaotic management of social services. The National Debt Helpline provides free financial counselling to Australians who are facing financial hardship. This is a vital service particularly at a time where trust in financial institutions is so low.
After decades of enforced silence, business in our parliament was suspended last month to publicly acknowledge and apologise for the pain that was caused by institutional child sexual abuse.
The Senate has passed a private senator’s bill that requires the Productivity Commission to consider inequality in its work. Introduced by Senator Jenny McAllister, the bill directs the Productivity Commission to regularly report on how we are tracking as a nation in improving equality and social mobility.
A Shorten Labor Government will reverse Scott Morrison’s $323,000 cut to Foodbank. Foodbank is a food relief organisation that puts food on the table for hundreds of thousands of Australians in need – many of them children.
I wanted to make a few remarks about Foodbank, because just last week the CEO of Foodbank got a call informing her that her organisation would have its funding almost halved. $320,000 taken away from this organisation. Now, this is an organisation that every month provides food to more than 700,000 Australians and in the lead up to Christmas, just six weeks before the funding cut is supposed to be enacted, the Government is taking money away.
Grants processes are chaotic under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government. Delay in grant announcements for emergency relief services are leaving community organisations with unanswered questions over funding leading into the critical Christmas - New Year period.