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The Salvation Army’s response to the Federal Budget

Jennifer Kirkcaldy, General Manager of Policy and Advocacy, has responded to the Federal Budget on behalf of The Salvation Army.

The Federal Budget handed down by the Albanese Labor Government last night was largely as expected with its focus on the cost of living, but it provided little new funding for addressing financial hardship, according to The Salvation Army’s General Manager of Policy and Advocacy.


Jennifer Kirkaldy said she welcomed the efforts made to address cost-of-living pressures, such as the increase to Commonwealth Rental Assistance, energy concessions and funding for financial well-being and capability services, but she warned that it would not be enough to address the significant need in our community.


Jennifer said the decision to leave JobSeeker and related payments well below the poverty line was “very disappointing” and against the overwhelming evidence from those who deliver services in the community sector, leading economists, and the government’s own expert panel*.


“Charities do their best work when they are guardrails at the top of the cliff, but we are forced to be the ambulance at the bottom,” Jennifer said.


“Every day, The Salvation Army is working with people who simply cannot make ends meet when relying on working-age payments. In every community in Australia, we are seeing people make impossible choices between food and rent, medication and warmth.


“The fact is, no matter how careful they are, an individual cannot budget away poverty – but the government can.”


The Salvation Army’s Secretary for Mission, Lieutenant-Colonel Gregory Morgan, focused on the Jobseeker payment in his response.


“Since 1994, when JobSeeker was last close to adequate, The Salvation Army has had to step in over 32 million times to help people who are struggling. Between now and the next Federal Budget, there will be at least another two million added to that total,” he said.


“It’s no surprise then that 94 per cent of those reaching out to the Salvos for help are struggling to afford essentials, such as housing, groceries, medical care and utilities.”


Each year, through The Salvation Army’s nationwide network of over 400 centres and 2000 services in areas such as homelessness, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, youth support, family and domestic violence, financial hardship and much more, the Salvos provide**:


• Assistance to one person every 17 seconds.

• More than 1.67 million sessions of care to over 250,000 people in need.

• Over 1.2 million bed nights to people who need accommodation.

• More than 1.63 million meals to people who access our homelessness services.

• Assistance to more than 10,000 women and their children at risk of experiencing family violence, including more than 123,000 nights of emergency accommodation for women and children impacted by violence.


To view The Salvation Army’s brief on the 2024-25 Budget Measures, click here


*Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee 2024 Report to Government

**The Salvation Army Annual Report 2022-2


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