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.
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.
Canberra was buzzing with activity during the last sitting fortnight. Just when we thought the chaos of the Government had reached its heights, the Prime Minister sought to double down in the lead up to the Wentworth by-election. From gaffes to developing foreign policy on the run – the Coalition proved they aren’t up to the task of governing. The people of Wentworth agreed and sent the Government into minority. Meanwhile, in the senate we were quizzing the Government in Budget Estimates. It has been a busy couple of weeks - here are the highlights.
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.
I really think that their big problem on the Liberal side is that they've got a bunch of policies that nobody likes. They've got a legacy of cutting services that people really care about like health and education over their last five years.
Labor is saddened by the most recent comments by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits commissioner Gary Johns. The revelations have come last night in evidence before Senate Estimates where the Commissioner publicly confirmed he still holds troubling views about charities, welfare recipients and indigenous mothers.