LINDA BURNEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR BARTON
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
EMERGENCY RELIEF FUNDING MUST REACH LOCAL SERVICES
Labor welcomes today’s additional investment in emergency relief services, and the Government must make sure it reaches local community organisations quickly.
Local emergency relief organisations across the country are under immense pressure. Some have been forced to close their doors because they cannot get the goods, funding and support they need.
These organisations deliver an invaluable service. They help with food and bills; as well as provide social interaction to vulnerable and often socially isolated Australians.
Donations have dried up, while demand for services has surged. And many volunteers – who are older or fall into other at-risk categories – are no longer able to assist.
In rolling out the very welcome additional funding for emergency relief, Labor has urged the Government to:
- Secure supplies – access to staples and basic household items need to be guaranteed for all emergency relief organisations. The most vulnerable cannot be forgotten.
- Fund local services – support must reach the front-line fast. Local organisations know their communities well and support should not be restricted only to current DSS contract holders.
- Help everyone – any restrictions on who can access federally funded services should be removed, so that people who are not accessing social security and temporary visa holders are not left hungry.
As we argued in Parliament on Wednesday, charities such as UnitingCare, Anglicare and St Vincent De Paul are still concerned that their early childhood, family violence and community-building programs could be under threat if they are not able to access the JobKeeper package.
Labor urges the Treasurer to use the powers granted by the Parliament to ensure that vital charities don’t fall through the cracks of the JobKeeper wage subsidy.
The organisations, workers and volunteers who are rising to the challenge of helping those hit by this crisis deserve our support at every turn.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.