Real struggle to make ends meet

Worried: Fairfield's Salvation Army Corps Officer Lieutenant Joanne Catalano Picture: Anna Warr

Worried: Fairfield's Salvation Army Corps Officer Lieutenant Joanne Catalano Picture: Anna Warr

FAIRFIELD'S Salvation Army is fearing the worst for families on low incomes following the announcement of the federal budget last week.

The centre's corps officer Lieutenant Joanne Catalano said families would struggle to meet the standards of living if the budget is passed in the Senate.

"People on low incomes find it difficult as it is but now they will be weighing up what they will spend their money on so it's making a decision if they will spend $7 on going to the doctor or spending that money on putting food on the table," she said.

"That's not a decision people should be forced to make."

As part of the budget, from July 1, 2015, people will have to pay $7 each time they visit their GP, as well as a $5 prescription fee for each script they get filled.

People aged 18 to 30 will also be forced to "learn or earn" and those wanting government assistance will have to wait six months before qualifying for support.

They will then have to undertake a six-month compulsory participation program.

Lieutenant Catalano said Fairfield had one of the highest rates of people on welfare and the highest rate of youth unemployment.

She said the new measures would place a burden on the Salvation Army because it was already difficult for the centre to meet the demand.

"We already see at least 100 families a week and receive more than 100 calls from people seeking assistance," she said.

"We can't even answer all those calls because we're too busy so if all the measures in the budget are implemented, there's a fear that the amount of people seeking our service will increase by 50 per cent."

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