UnitingCare Australia – 2019-20 Pre-Budget Submission
UnitingCare Australia is pleased to provide this submission to inform development of the 2019-20 Federal Budget.
Australia has experienced 27 years of continuous economic growth. However, the benefits of growth have flowed disproportionately to higher income earners and to the wealthy. Wages below the median have stagnated. Underemployment and insecure, low quality jobs are on the increase. Unacceptable rates of poverty and child social exclusion persist. Housing affordability is at an all-time low and home ownership, the jewel in the crown of Australia’s social policy egalitarian accomplishments, is falling.
Ambitious social reforms have been under resourced: Closing the Gap targets have not been achieved, and a mechanism to provide badly needed Indigenous advice to Parliament has been summarily dismissed. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which gave so much hope for people living with a disability, has assisted many but disappointed others. Subsidies for early childhood care, education and aged care have attracted a growing number of for-profit providers, but marketisation has failed to improve the supply of accessible, high quality services for the most disadvantaged. Inequality and the inequities in health and education outcomes that arise from it has increased, as a result of policies that reduce tax and transfer progressivity and therefore government revenue.
Australia became a signatory to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 but has yet to express this commitment in a whole of government approach to inclusive, sustainable growth. UnitingCare Australia urges the Government to adopt a policy framework and Budget initiatives that would promote inclusive, sustainable growth and enable Australia to achieve its SDG targets by 2030.