Federal Government cuts Vinnies emergency relief funding by 25%

Warwick Fulton

Warwick Fulton, President, St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.

The St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn has been advised that Emergency Relief grant funding for Financial Crisis and Material Aid will be cut by 25% per year between 2020 and 2023. The cut comes as a demand for services continues to grow.

“In 2017-18, the Society distributed in excess of $2 million on the most vulnerable members of our community in the form of food, food vouchers, furniture or medical costs. The $335,000 per year grant allows Vinnies to commit to caring for these vulnerable members while we raise donations from the community,” said Warwick Fulton, President, St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.

“We cannot reduce the amount of relief we provide to people who call on us for help in times of crisis, and the effect of this cut will place an enormous strain on the organisation and the services we provide as we expect the number of people calling for help to increase even more.”

A key driver of the 14% national increase in homelessness since 2011 is the inadequate Newstart payment.

“No-one can live on a $272.90 payment in Canberra where the average rental is $540 per week. The failure of Newstart to provide stability for vulnerable Australians undermines good health, education and social outcomes. Newstart doesn’t help if you don’t have a place to call home or if you are in imminent danger of becoming homeless,” Mr Fulton said.

“The lack of political will to fix Newstart requires charities to step in to provide emergency relief and to rely more and more on communities to assist while homelessness and poverty continue to grow.  We find that each day our services are at full capacity – this is a time to increase funding and make long lasting change rather than cut funding.” Mr Fulton said.

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St Vincent de Paul Society calls on the government to review its decision.

“In the capital city of the lucky country we have more than 1,500 people who are homeless and up to 30,000 living in poverty. Australia wide there are 2.9 million living below the poverty line. These people are not lucky. They face daily choices of paying the rent or having food on the table,” Mr Fulton said.

“For many of the people we assist Vinnies is the last option. We work with the most vulnerable and challenged members of our community and we do it because nobody else is there for them, and they deserve the love and support many of us take for granted.”

Key facts

  • We expect to spend $10 million dollars on emergency relief in our community between now and 2023.
  • Last year we distributed 2,541 Christmas hampers
  • In 2018 we will distribute 3,000 Christmas hampers for the families and individuals
  • There are 1,596 people experiencing homelessness in the ACT according to the 2016 ABS Census of Population and Housing
  • According to the Australian Council of Social Service up to 30,000 Canberrans are living in poverty.
  • An estimated 2.9million or 13.3% of people are living below the poverty line in Australia according to the ‘Poverty in Australia 2016’ report by Australian Council of Social Service and the Social Policy Research Centre.
  • According to the 2015-2016 Household Expenditure Survey from the ABS:
  • The average Australian family spent $1425 a week on housing, food and education costs.
  • 11% more spend on power and energy in the past six years.
  • 30% of Australian Households were over-burdened with debt, with mortgages the primary cause.
  • 24% increase for education costs – the largest proportional increase of any spending category.
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Source: St Vincent de Paul


Wordpress (1)
  • Adrian Harris 5 years

    Scott Morrison was very proud of adding a motor neuron to the PBS at a large cost , as a good result of the improved economy. The Vinnies hampers and supermarket vouchers are distributed to deserving people on a personal basis so reach deserving families well. Cuts to this area is harsh on the community.