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Welfare budget labelled band-aid solution

Welfare advocates have slammed the federal government’s latest budget, labelling it a band-aid solution to many critical issues.

The 2022/23 federal budget includes a $250 cash payment for cost of living for six million people, including welfare recipients and pensioners.

The budget also halves the fuel excise to 22.1 cents for the next six months, which is tipped to save a two-car family $30 per week.

However, the chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie said the measure was just short-term relief and did not adequately address many issues.

“This budget is full of temporary fixes, when we need permanent solutions. Much of the assistance goes to people who don’t need it, and too little goes to people who do,” she said.

“Whilst we welcome the inclusion of people on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance who will receive the $250 bonus payment, when you live on $46 a day, this payment will help for a week, but how do you pay the next week’s rent?”

While the budget doubled the government’s home guarantee scheme to 50,000 places per year, Dr Goldie said there was very little in the federal budget that actively addressed the country’s housing crisis.

“There is no social housing investment in this budget, when we absolutely need it,” she said.

“Despite the ongoing natural disasters we are witnessing, the government has not given security to communities that if they’re hit by a disaster, they get sufficient income support to deal with it.”

It comes as social security and welfare payments in the upcoming financial year are set to drop by almost six per cent.

The drop is largely due to COVID-19 disaster payments ending and the jobless rate improving.

It’s estimated $221.69 billion will be spent on support payments next financial year, compared to $227.8 billion in 2021/22.

National spokeswoman for housing advocacy group Everybody’s Home, Kate Colvin, said the budget was a disappointment for the sector.

“For the last two years workers in industries such as aged care, child care and retail have been lauded as heroes of the pandemic,” she said.

“But the budget has done nothing to help them out of the rental pincer. People on low and modest incomes need real housing solutions, instead they are getting rhetoric and band-aids.”

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