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Published: 29 September 2020

AASW National President, Christine Craik has called on the Federal Government to use the upcoming Budget to focus on issues crucial for constructing an Australia that is better for everyone.

“Instead of the usual 12 months between Federal Budgets we have had almost 16 months and that has given us time to highlight the big challenges we are facing and the importance of combined action to overcome them.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the inequality within our community and the way we rely on personal connection and caring to survive. It also showed us that governments have been able to step in and take action when it is needed.”

“We welcomed the decision to ensure adequate income support for everyone that temporarily lifted thousands of Australians out of poverty but a challenge that must be addressed by this budget is that underlying inequalities remain.”

“The last few months have shown us the importance of safe and secure housing, stable and fairly paid work, and a solid health and community services sector. Things that are necessary for all of us and completely in the control of the government.”

“We must not forget that COVID-19 arrived while many communities were recovering from last summer’s devastating bushfires, and for many people in those communities, the task of rebuilding has not properly begun, even though the next fire season is approaching.”

“We must recognize that our changing climate will affect everyone, but its negative impacts will fall most heavily on people who already vulnerable. That is why, last week more than 30 health organisations called on the Government to include the health impacts of climate change in its planning for Australia’s health system.”

Ms Craik said the Government must also allocate the funding necessary to make self-determination a reality for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait islanders, ensuring that their voice is heard in Parliament.

“Only when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a say in the policies that affect them will we see real progress in closing the gap between outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

“Overcoming inequality, addressing global warming and promoting Reconciliation are the three of the most important steps in shaping a just and inclusive Australia. This Budget is the Government’s chance to start this process,” she said.

To interview Christine Craik, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers