Two studies have now confirmed that disadvantage remains a significant challenge for many of our local communities and the Abbott Government’s first and second budgets which hit low and middle income earners the hardest will particularly affect these suburbs.
Last week’s report by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) reported that some of our region’s worst-hit households are those that can least afford it.
The Dropping Off the Edge 2015 report released today by Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services Australia shows that entrenched locational disadvantage is getting worse.
Sharon Bird said that she was disturbed yesterday to hear NSW Premier Mike Baird supporting an increase to the GST.
“Any increase to the GST hits those who can least afford it the hardest. When you combine a GST increase with Budget cuts, threats to Medicare and pensions, our areas of disadvantage here in the Illawarra will continue to get worse, not better.
“While Bronwyn Bishop fuelling up her charter jets, low and middle income earners here are struggling to fuel their cars.
“Tony Abbott claims that his priority is to get people a job but he cut all the local programs that were working to assist young people into work despite our persistent high youth unemployment.”
Stephen Jones said that vulnerable communities in his electorate of Throsby deserved better.
“The report lists Warrawong, Port Kembla and Berkeley as amongst the most disadvantaged in the state and highlights criminal convictions, unemployment, domestic violence and lack of internet services as key factors.
“I endorse the recommendations which call for a dedicated team at Commonwealth level working with leaders in the local community putting in place long-term local solutions. What we need is policy stamina, not changing our minds every three years.
“The tragedy is that we had this in place with the “Better Futures program” and the Abbott Government abolished it.
“A proper, long-term strategy involves investing in schools, TAFE, social services, alcohol and illicit drug rehabilitation, domestic violence services and more. The Abbott Government is doing the opposite. This is confirmed by the NATSEM modelling, which listed both Warrawong and Berkeley as suburbs hardest hit by the last two federal Budgets.”