One of the state’s leading community services, housing and aged care provider, UnitingSA welcomes Federal Budget initiatives to improve the wellbeing, support and security of vulnerable people across South Australia.

UnitingSA CEO Jenny Hall says that more than ever before the organisation is seeing people reaching out for support and in many cases, people are reaching out for the first time.

“We know ordinary South Australians are struggling and we welcome measures that will make a difference to thousands of individuals and families.’’

Ms Hall says on top of already announced tax cuts, cost of living relief in the form of energy bill rebates, modest rent assistance increases and cheaper medicines, will put more money in people’s pockets.

The $300 energy bill supplement will help relieve household budgets but could have been better targeted to those most in need, including support for low-income earners to transition to solar, Ms Hall says.

She says the much-needed investment in community services, including additional funds for emergency and food relief and financial counselling will make a difference to the people UnitingSA supports every day, including women and children.

“Also, the decision to make the Leaving Violence Program permanent is a significant investment and continues the great work we have been involved in through the extended pilot program. We know that lack of financial security is often the thing that keeps many women and children trapped in unsafe situations.

“It’s also heartening that on top of the $10 billion Housing Australian Future Fund (HAFF), there will be billions in new funding for the building of social and affordable housing, creating much needed homes.’’

Ms Hall said it was disappointing that UnitingSA’s pre-budget submission for the government to allocate up to one per cent of the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) for support services to help renters and those in affordable housing maintain their tenancies, was not addressed.

In addition to providing community services and housing, UnitingSA also supports 1600 older South Australians through in-home and residential aged care.

UnitingSA welcomes the commitment to fund a pay rise for aged care workers and the additional $87 million in workforce initiatives. This will help support, attract and retain aged care staff, recognising the important role they play in caring for older South Australians.

“The 24,000 homecare packages announced is good news, however, more work is needed to ensure every older South Australian can access the care they need, when they need it,’’ Ms Hall says.

UnitingSA will continue to advocate for people-focussed policy and initiatives that create a better and fairer future for the most vulnerable in our community.