Media Release: 10th May, 2012: The poor will be with us always?

Media Release: 10th May, 2012

The poor will be with us always?

The Australian Democrats have welcomed the Federal Budget’s relief for people on middle and lower incomes. However, the Democrats are critical that more of the surplus won’t be used to provide relief for the truly poor both in Australia and abroad.

National President, Darren Churchill, said “We welcome initiatives such as the increase in the tax-free threshold and compensation for the carbon price. However, we’re disappointed that some of the surplus hasn’t been used to provide greater assistance for the genuinely poor and to increase foreign aid.”

“With a predicted $1.5 billion dollar surplus, the Democrats feel more should have been done for the truly disadvantaged.”

“There’s room for increases in Youth Allowance and other welfare payments” Mr Churchill said. “Whilst people relying on Centrelink will benefit from the increased tax-free threshold, these welfare payments really should be indexed to the Poverty Line.

“The government has broken a major election pledge to increase assistance to foreign development. The Democrats are bitterly disappointed – as are those trapped in poverty. A relatively well-off country like Australia can surely afford to contribute more? By deferring its own recently renewed commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the government has put in doubt the ability to meet the 2015 targets.

“Australia must act with more compassion toward those in dire poverty.

“The government has broken the undertaking it freely made to the Millennium Development Goals – specifically a higher and rising level of foreign aid. This is unconscionable.

“Countries and people are crippled by drought, famine and war. We have a profound humanitarian obligation to help where we can. Surely we could have coped with a smaller surplus in order to meet such obligations?” Mr Churchill concluded.


National President

Tel: 0412 196 473

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