IN the race for the seat of Ballarat, six candidates spoke about their party’s views on poverty and disadvantage in our community last night.
UnitingCare coordinator of homeless response Warwick Davison initially addressed the forum at the Ballarat Central Uniting Church to paint a picture of disadvantage and poverty in Ballarat.
Liberal candidate John Fitzgibbon opened the forum with the coalition’s plans to tackle housing costs, and the pressures that push families into homelessness.
“We need to make sure we are setting up the right facilities and the right housing to meet the needs,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
Labor MP Catherine King spoke about her party’s introduction of the Paid Parental Leave scheme.
She also spoke about the benefits of the Better Schools program.
“We firmly believe that employment is the best route out of poverty,” Ms King said.
“Federal labor is committed to tackling the route causes of poverty and disadvantage, social exclusion and breaking the cycle of welfare dependence.”
Greens candidate Steph Hodgins-May highlighted her party’s plans to raise the Newstart allowance and introduce a pre-fabricated homes scheme.
“A caring society protects people and families from falling into poverty. The Greens’ plan to raise the Newstart will firstly impact parents...and reduce pressures on vulnerable families,” she said.
Palmer United candidate Gerard Murphy encouraged voters to begin spending more wisely.
“All of these vexed questions can very easily be fixed, I know it’s not easy, but it can be done,” Mr Murphy said.
Democratic Labour Party candidate Stephen Vereka briefly acknowledged that his children benefit from UnitingCare services before going on to reinforce his “something better” slogan.
Australian Christian Party candidate Anne Foster said that an increase in family violence needed to be addressed at a family level.
Katter’s Australian Party candidate Shane Dunne said that national debt was an issue that needed to be focused on before international aid.
He expressed disappointment for the absence of mental health hospitals.
“We haven’t got any mental health hospitals anymore and that’s a bit of a concern,” he said. “And drugs, well, who knows how to fix that problem.”