Budget pain looms

WITH federal treasurer Joe Hockey warning the "age of entitlement" is over in the lead-up to an anticipated tough budget, Southern Youth and Family Services has urged the government to continue supporting those in need.

Mr Hockey told ABC Radio last week the government would help the most vulnerable, but only on a sustainable basis.

"It can only be done if everyone who has the capacity to lift does indeed lift," he said.

"Everyone in Australia must do the heavy lifting. The age of entitlement is over, the age of personal responsibility has begun."

While she welcomed Mr Hockey's acknowledgment of the government's responsibility, Southern Youth and Family Services chief executive Narelle Clay said communities needed to see action on it.

"It's all well and good for people to point the finger and tell them to help themselves, but for many reasons people need support," she said.

"You can only manage finances well if you have adequate finances.

"If you only get enough to pay your rent, how can you manage them any better than you do?"

Ms Clay said those in need often found themselves in difficult circumstances due to no fault of their own, including family violence.

"There's also an increasing group of elderly women homeless because in their era, they don't have big superannuation and they're becoming homeless, it's really terrible," she said.

Social housing stock had not increased and local housing prices had risen. Ms Clay believes housing stimulus could provide more jobs while ensuring people had a roof over their heads.

"The price of housing is too high for their income - many young people and young families find it almost impossible.

"Unless we do something about it, it's going to get worse," she said.

Ms Clay named youth unemployment as another issue in the area and said more was needed to encourage employers to take them on.

"We need to focus on making sure there's adequate employment - that's a big thing," she said. "It's good to train people, but you need to have the jobs."

She also said funding for some federal and state government partnership programs would end in June and would need additional support in the new financial year.

"To end homelessness, they [the programs] need to continue," she said.

Southern Youth and Family Services is an independent community-based charity organisation, which provides assistance to vulnerable, disadvantaged and homeless young people, their children and families.

The government's new budget is due in May.

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