Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks at a media conference about the Salvation Army at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, April 28, 2014. Mr Abbott made a personal contribution to the Salvation Army.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks at a media conference about the Salvation Army at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, April 28, 2014. Mr Abbott made a personal contribution to the Salvation Army. AAP Image - Lukas Coch

Churches call on Abbott to avoid cutting support for needy

MAJOR church social service groups have called on the Abbott government not to cut income support and provide more support to vulnerable Australians as it reviews the nation's welfare system.

Submissions from several church groups including The Salvation Army, UnitingCare Australia and Anglicare, were given to the McClure review on Friday.

The church providers urged the government to use the review to see what more can be done to give struggling Australians a "decent quality of life", not just find budget savings.

Salvation Army national secretary Major Kelvin Allen said it was "critical" that the review deliver a working age payment that reflected the costs of living.

The groups are among many social services organisations pushing for payments including Newstart, Youth Allowance and pensions to be increased.

UnitingCare Australia national director Lin Hatfield-Dodds said the current system needed to be looked at, and did not always provide properly for people living in poverty.

But Catholic Social Services Australia chief executive Marcelle Mogg said more support was needed on the other factors contributing to poverty, including housing costs, education and health services.

A draft report of Patrick McClure's welfare review is out for public comment, before a final report will go to the government later this year.


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