UnitingSA has welcomed short-term measures providing cost of living relief announced in last night’s Federal Budget, but wants to see more long-term strategies to help struggling Australians.

UnitingSA CEO Jenny Hall said temporary cuts in petrol prices and one-off payments to low-income households were helpful, but fell far short of the comprehensive, long-term approach required to help lift families out of hardship.

“Amid soaring rental prices, the government has failed to invest in social and affordable housing,” Ms Hall said.

“The Budget was also silent on higher wages for aged care workers, who deserve better to keep up with rising living expenses.

“We know people are doing it really tough, and while we welcome the support for domestic violence survivors and short-term financial relief for low-income households, we need the government to commit to effective and sustainable solutions.”

UnitingSA is part the UnitingCare Australia Network – one of the most influential social sector organisations in the country, providing more than $5 billion in support services to more than 1.4 million Australians every year.

The UnitingCare Australia Network provides services in urban, rural and remote areas to help children, young people, families, those with disabilities and older Australians to overcome a range of challenges, including housing insecurity, homelessness, domestic violence, poverty and illness.

The network employs 50,000 workers, with a further 30,000 volunteers, across 1,600 sites throughout Australia – making it one of the nation’s largest employers.

“A shortage of affordable housing, soaring rental prices, stagnant incomes and a rising cost of living is seeing more and more South Australians reach out for financial relief and housing support,” Ms Hall said.

“We are seeing many people who have never needed our help before, but are struggling to keep their head above water, while the situation for those on government income support payments has only worsened as they continue to live below the poverty line.

“We also employ more than 600 aged care workers who deserve a better go. While we acknowledge the government’s commitment of 15,000 aged care training places nationally, we are deeply concerned about aged care wages and renew our call for urgent action.”

UnitingCare Australia is calling on the major parties to adopt a three point plan for a fairer future in the coming election, including a national enquiry into stagnant incomes, superannuation on parental leave pay and increased aged care wages.

Find out more about UnitingCare Australia’s Federal Election Priorities at https://unitingcare.org.au/uniting-a-caring-australia-federal-election-priorities/