Moonee Valley Mayor Jan Chantry says services could be affected from Federal Budget indexation freeze to grants

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Moonee Valley Leader: Moonee Valley Mayor Jan Chantry says services could be affected from Federal Budget indexation freeze to grants. Linh Ly. 15 May 2014

The Federal Budget, delivered by Treasurer Joe Hockey, paints a bleak future for at-risk youth in the west, according to housing service. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images) Source: Getty Images

UPDATE: Moonee Valley Mayor Jan Chantry says a proposed freeze on indexation of grants to local councils, announced in Tuesday’s Federal Budget, was disappointing because they provided crucial revenue for home and community care, kindergartens, public libraries, emergency management and facilities.

But Cr Chantry said the council welcomed continued funding for the Universal Access to Early Childhood Education program and the continued implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“The increased investment in infrastructure is welcomed but we would like to see a shift in transport funding to public transport initiatives with clear benefits for Moonee Valley and Victoria in general, rather than to East West Link and other road-only projects,” she said.

“Council is concerned that many of the planned road projects for Victoria, including the Eastern section of East West Link and the widening of CityLink, will only have negative impacts on Moonee Valley residents.”

Meanwhile, a western suburbs youth housing service said young people already dealing with homelessness have a “bleak” outlook on the future from the Federal Budget.

Rhonda Collins, manager of Moonee Valley and Hobsons Bay organisation Latitude: Directions for Young People, said rental affordability was already difficult.

>>> What do you think about the Federal Budget? Tell us below or join the conversation at facebook.com/mooneevalleyleader

Treasurer Joe Hockey said Australians under 30 should be “earning or learning” and young people should move into employment “before they embark on a life on welfare”.

Newstart payments will no longer be available for unemployed Australians under the age of 25, meaning they are only able to access Youth Allowance if they are studying.

But Ms Collins said many of their clients were dealing with issues such as mental health, substance abuse and homelessness.

“How on earth are they going to be able to engage meaningfully in educational training when there’s these issues?” Ms Collins said.

“We’re seeing more and more people at our food pantry.

“We don’t advertise that (service) but we do have access to emergency supplies.”

Opposition leader Bill Shorten slammed the budget, saying it was made up of broken promises.

“The people of Moonee Valley have every right to feel betrayed. Before the election, the Prime Minister promised no cuts to health, no cuts to education and no changes to the pension,” the Maribyrnong federal Labor MP said.

“In his first Budget, Tony Abbott will gut $80 billion out of hospitals and schools, he will cut pensions and force Australians to work longer.

“He promised no new taxes and no tax increases, but this Budget means you will pay every time you see the doctor and pay more every time you fill up the car.”

People under 30 will not get unemployment benefits for up to six months and will have to participate in Work for the Dole to be eligible for support.

Melbourne federal Greens MP Adam Bandt said the budget would make the growing gap between the rich and the poor worse.

“The hardest hit in Melbourne will be people in public housing, who will have to pay a fee to see a doctor and will bear the brunt of welfare cuts,” Mr Bandt said.

“University education will be further out of reach for many and corporate welfare will continue, but funding for Metro rail will be poured into the multi-billion dollar East-West toll road.”

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