The National-Liberal Opposition has called on the McGowan Labor Government to provide an urgent $300 million funding boost to charities filling the gap due to the current cost-of-living crisis.
Opposition Leader Shane Love said the cost-of-living crisis facing everyday West Australians would continue to be front and centre for the National-Liberal Opposition.
“The McGowan Labor Government needs to use the Premier’s overwhelming surpluses to fill the gaps which charities and non-for-profits are currently providing for,” Mr Love said.
“As the wealthiest State in the nation, it begs the question why the McGowan Labor Government is not spending some of that money to help West Australians make ends meet.
“The National-Liberal Opposition has presented an affordable and sensible option for the Government to consider which could be delivered with a flick of the pen by the Premier.”
WA Liberal Leader Libby Mettam said charities across the board had reported unprecedented calls for help and were struggling to keep pace with the demand.
“Charities are often the first port of call for the most vulnerable in our society and are under incredible pressure to meet the clear shortfall in Government services,” Ms Mettam said.
“At a time when the Premier is boasting about record surpluses on the back of a resources boom, it’s incredulous that funding for these critical housing, food and support services continues to fall short.
“We are calling for a $150 million boost for each of the next two years to help support our critical support services provide targeted relief to the increasing number of West Australians struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.”
Ms Mettam said the annual boost equated to about 10 per cent of the current Government funding provided to the sector that had experienced astronomical demand for services.
“We know that the calls for food relief have doubled for some organisations like Vinnies from 30,000 in 2017-18 to more than 60,000 in 2021-22,” Ms Mettam said.
“Many agencies are also now reporting an increase in calls for help from the working poor, households with two incomes and often a mortgage, that simply cannot afford to live.
“It is extraordinary that in a State as wealthy as WA, many households are choosing between food and paying their bills.”
Shadow Treasurer Steve Thomas said the Premier had banked over $20 billion in surpluses in five years, so he could easily afford to share some of his wealth.
“The Government’s strategy to address cost-of-living impacts has seen the Premier hand out two electricity credits, which went to all households at a cost of over a billion dollars,” Dr Thomas said.
“Our plan will see money appropriately targeted at those who need it most, especially those who are seeking help just to eat or to have a place to stay tonight.”
Shadow Community Services Minister Donna Faragher said the sector plays an incredibly valuable role and it clearly needs more support from the Government.
“Valuing the community services sector and the supports it provides to the most vulnerable in our community must be a priority for the McGowan Labor Government.”