Feast Day of Saint Vincent de Paul

St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia

Members of the St Vincent de Paul Society will today celebrate the Feast Day of our patron, Saint Vincent de Paul, and reflect on what his vision means in contemporary Australia.

‘At the heart of Vincent’s teachings and work was his belief in the dignity of the human person,’ said National President Claire Victory.

Vincent urged his followers to bring God’s justice and love to people affected by poverty and suffering, saying:

“Organise charity so that it is more efficient…teach reading and writing, educate with the aim of giving each the means of self-support. Intervene with authorities to obtain reforms in structure… there is no charity without justice.”

‘Four hundred years later, Vincent’s example continues to inspire the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society’s 45,000 members and volunteers in Australia, who work every day across the country to provide emergency relief, housing and other support services to people in need,’ Ms Victory said.

‘Today, as interest rates and inflation move higher, the Society is witnessing a significant jump in demand for assistance to cover the necessities of life such as housing, food, bills and health care.

‘More and more Australians, particularly those on low or fixed incomes, are having to make desperate choices such as skipping meals or not seeking medical care,’ Ms Victory said.

In keeping with its role as a voice for the voiceless, the Society is calling on the Albanese Government to take action in next month’s budget to protect vulnerable Australians.

‘We have outlined key social policy issues that if addressed through the Albanese Government’s first budget would significantly improve the lives of many Australians, and, at the same time, stimulate economic growth and productivity,’ Ms Victory said.

‘JobSeeker and other support payments are falling further behind the cost of living every day and must be increased now – people on these payments cannot wait until the next budget,’ Ms Victory said.

The Society is urging the Government to:

  • increase the base rate of working age payments from $44 to ideally $67
  • index working age payments twice a year in line with wage growth and CPI
  • increase the earnings threshold of JobSeeker recipients, from $150 to $300 per fortnight.

‘Safe and affordable housing is another critical issue where immediate support is needed through the budget,’ Ms Victory said.

‘Houses are unaffordable and rental properties have skyrocketed, particularly in regional Australia where they have risen 12.5 percent in the last year. Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) has not kept up with these rental increases,’ Ms Victory said.

‘The Society supports National Shelter Australia and ACOSS’ call for an increase to the maximum rate CRA by 50 per cent, which could be funded by minor changes to superannuation and capital gains tax regimes as outlined in The Australian National University’s A Fairer Tax and Welfare System in Australia.

The Society’s pre-budget submission

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