The 2017 Budget has left many desperate people with nowhere to turn, the Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Bishop Vincent Long, has said. 

‘The government’s proposed compliance measures and drug testing for welfare recipients will not save a single cent or generate a single job. These requirements will only demonise marginalised people and do nothing to help them. 

‘In my Pastoral Letter for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, I emphasised that: “It is unjust that the unemployed are told constantly that they owe something to society in return for unemployment benefits when our economy fails to provide the real jobs they deserve.”

‘Meanwhile, Newstart payments remain at below poverty levels’, Bishop Long said.

‘The ACSJC supports calls by Caritas Australia for increased foreign aid. Repeated cuts to international aid have tarnished Australia’s once-proud reputation as a global citizen.

‘In particular, we need to extend a hand to the most desperate: refugees fleeing violence and repression around the world. 

‘We applaud constructive measures that will strengthen the NDIS and do something to make housing more affordable. 

‘However, there are many among the most vulnerable whose lives will remain bleak and frightening’, Bishop Long said.

 The 2017 Pastoral Letter can be downloaded here.