We need an economy that is animated by a concern for dignity of workers and their families. In cooperation with all sectors of business, unions, and the community, the Government has a responsibility to ensure low-paid workers and those excluded from the labour market are put first in the nation’s economic planning.

Issuing the annual Pastoral Letter for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker (1 May), Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, said: ‘Two decades of economic growth in Australia have seen the size of our economy double and income per capita increase by 50 per cent.  Despite this growth, many of us will know somebody for whom the system has failed – the older worker made redundant by technology and becoming long-term unemployed, a single mother trying to make ends meet on Newstart Allowance, a household with work but still below the poverty line. The list could go on.

‘We need a competitive and productive national economy. But we cannot leave it to the market alone. As a nation, we need to consider those who have been excluded from the benefits of growth and devise a system of “inclusive growth” that is more equitable in spreading wealth and opportunity’, Bishop Saunders said.

The Pastoral Letter calls for Government to take the lead in: creating quality jobs; increasing local employment through industry and infrastructure development; lifting national training standards; reducing employment-related costs for business; and establishing a benchmark for minimum wages and income support that prevents individuals and their families falling into poverty.

‘It is time for our nation to ensure all people can make their contribution to the productivity of our nation and reap the benefits of growth. The question is not how to end an “age of entitlement” but how to bring about an age of social inclusion’, Bishop Saunders concluded.

The Pastoral Letter can be downloaded at: www.acsjc.org.au

For further information:
Bishop Christopher Saunders
Chairman, ACSJC                Tel: 0418 260 155

John Ferguson
National Executive Officer, ACSJC        Tel: 02 8306 3499