CSSA appears before Senate Inquiry into Commission of Audit

Posted 19 February 2014 1:28pm

Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) made two main points to the Senate Select
Committee into the Abbott Government’s Commission of Audit. In fronting the Committee
yesterday afternoon, CSSA argued that the Federal Government must provide a safety net for
people on low incomes and that investment in social services, especially in early intervention,
provides a social and economic return.

Acting Executive Director, Mrs Jackie Brady, stressed the need for a preferential option for the
poor which was too easily overlooked when spending cuts were considered.

“We recognise that the Commission of Audit has a difficult task but what we ask for is that any
cutbacks don’t affect the most disadvantaged people in our community,” said Mrs Brady.

“From work we have done we know that people on unemployment benefits were more than five
times as likely to be in poverty and a very high percentage of these unemployed households
persist in poverty for at least two years. Our services are struggling to keep up with demand
and we are concerned that we will be left to plug the gaps in services.”

Currently there is uncertainty around funding for services including the National Partnership
Agreement on Homelessness which expires in June 2014. This has implications for staff within
CSSA member agencies and more importantly the clients we work with who have few options.

CSSA also presented evidence that investment in social services, especially in early
intervention provides long term financial savings to Government and social benefits to
individuals and families. Mrs Brady also said that by improving participation in education,
training and employment, many social programs make a contribution to both participation and
economic productivity.

You can read CSSA’s opening statement to the Committee by clicking here.

CONTACT: SAM EDWARDS – 02 6285 1366 / 0450 760 511

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