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PWDA joins call to reject harsh budget measures


Wednesday 27 August 2014

People with Disability Australia joins call to reject harsh budget measures

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) joins the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and representatives from across the community sector in Canberra today to call on our elected representatives to protect those living on income support from harsh measures proposed in this year’s budget.

“It is important that decision makers in the Parliament know the cumulative effect that budget measures will have on the most vulnerable people in our community, including a disproportionate number of people with disability,” said Craig Wallace, PWDA President.

“The Budget needs to be viewed as a package and we are concerned about the inequitable effects of a host of measures, like higher costs for medical visits, pharmaceuticals and fuel on many people with disability. Many people with disability face inelastic costs in our lives – things we must purchase, regardless of our incomes.”

“While we can argue about numbers on DSP, the reality is there will always be some people who face so many barriers that they will find it hard to sustain work. I think most Australians would agree it is fair that they have a safety net which doesn’t erode over time and leaves them in dire poverty. It also fair to help those people who can work, find work."

“Making life harder for people with disability on income support is not investing in job creation,"said Mr Wallace. "This approach won’t provide incentives for employers to create jobs, it won’t make workplaces more accessible or remove discrimination, it won’t create more positive employer attitudes, and it won’t equip people with disability with the skills or resilience to find and keep work.”

“What it will do is increase financial hardship and inequality. 45% of people with disability in Australia live on or below the poverty line. Increasing job-seeking requirements while decreasing income support, and removing opportunities to get ‘job ready’ without investing in job creation and incentives, leaves people with disability trapped in poverty. We need a jobs plan and this isn’t it, ” said Craig Wallace.

“A new approach is needed. This approach must:
• ensure an adequate safety net for those people who are unable to work,
• get rid of the real structural barriers to employment,
• provide accessible transport and workplaces,
• reform employment services,
• focus on participation, education and training,
• address attitudinal barriers of employers,
• give more responsibility to the right levels of government,
• tackle the public sectors poor record as an employer and
• remove financial disincentives to employment for people with disability."
“The Government is already undertaking a review of the welfare system in Australia. People with Disability Australia is making a positive contribution to that review. Rather than tweaking a structure now that is not working, this is our opportunity to use evidence to build a better system and get people into real jobs,” said Mr Wallace.
• People with Disability Australia Budget Bills FactSheet (Word 101kb)
• People with Disability Australia Jobs Plan - Get Real on Jobs

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