“Humiliation begets greater disempowerment.” Further, “…the government’s refusal to lift payments was like “condemning people for not being able to walk up stairs while refusing to build a ramp” according to John Falzon, CEO of the National Council of the St Vincent de Paul Society.
He said the politicisation of welfare has robbed disadvantaged people of their integrity.
People were skipping meals to pay their power bills and could not afford job interview clothes, the hearing heard.
“Little things people take for granted like being able to turn up for a job interview having had a hair cut, or to wear neat clothes, or have dental work done, these are barriers to employment,” Dr Falzon told the hearing.
Charities like the Vincent de Paul Society were becoming “defacto providers of social security” because of the welfare benefits did not meet people’s basic living costs.
He made the statement as he gave evidence at a Senate inquiry in Canberra investigating whether the low levels of the Newstart and Youth Allowance payments have become a barrier to people getting a job. For years welfare and business groups have been calling for unemployment benefits to be lifted by a “modest” $50 a week, he said. The increase could cost government about $1.5 billion a year and Workplace Minister Bill Shorten says there are no plans to boost payments any time soon. thanks to the CM Australian site for posting this notice.