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Poor policies continue to put pressure on not-for-profits

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25 October 2012

Poor policies continue to put pressure on not-for-profits

The Australia Greens say poor Government policies are leading to increasing pressure being placed on Australia’s not-for-profit sector, with a report today showing 80% of organisations are concerned about their capacity to meet demand in the next six months.

“The Community Index shows the on-the-ground impact of Government policies which continue to prioritise a surplus over the long term wellbeing of families and vulnerable people,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Families and Community Services said today.

“I am concerned that demand for support services and emergency relief will increase in January, when single parents begin being transferred from parenting payments to Newstart Allowance, a cut of between $60 and $100 per week.

“January is already a tricky time for people with kids, as they face additional Christmas, school holidays and back-to-school expenses. This is also a time of year when seasonal or casual work can slow down, affecting the capacity of some parents to earn income.

“The legislation allowing this cut to payments passed the Senate only a few short weeks ago, and the short turnaround time before it’s commencement on 1 January 2013 means parents and emergency relief organisations have little time to plan and prepare.

“I am concerned that demands for emergency relief will increase, and as we were told during the last sitting week, the Government seemingly has no plans in place to either assist organisations or monitor the demand for services.

“Emergency relief agencies are already reporting that a significant portion of the people accessing their services are single parents and just last week, reports such as Anglicare’s ‘When there’s not enough to eat’ found that 45,000 of the households using their Emergency Relief services are unable to properly feed their families. A cut to the household budget of between $60 and $100 per week is substantial for families on low incomes and the food budget is one of the few areas where cuts can be made meaning people will have to cut expenditure on food.

“The state of the Community Index clearly highlights the need for more support to be given to the not-for-profit sector to enable them to meet this expected increase in demand as a result of poor Government policy,” Senator Siewert concluded.

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