UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the stark inequality and disparity in our Australian society and exacerbated the disadvantage faced by our most vulnerable people.
“In recent days, we have seen thousands of people around our country stand against inequality, specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the pressing need to address deaths in custody and the calls for Voice, Truth and Treaty.”
“It is a reminder that as a nation we must better.”
“As Australia looks to a post-COVID-19 world, we have a unique opportunity to renew our vision, to reimagine policy and to find creative ways to rebuild a nation that is just for everyone,” said Dr Palmer.
“One of the key learnings in this time of crisis is how deeply we are connected to one another, how deeply we depend on each other. What we have seen clearly is that we are only as strong and healthy as the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Dr Palmer commended the Federal and State Governments for their collaborative leadership in ensuring Australians were kept healthy and those impacted economically could access support.
“It has shown us that when we make sacrifices for the well-being of the whole society, everyone benefits.”
The document, Build Back Better: A Just Recovery, Post-Covid-19, draws upon the Uniting Church vision for a just Australia based on our belief that each person is created in the image of God and deeply loved by God.
As Christians, we see in the life and mission of Jesus, God’s call for abundant life for all people and the renewal of the whole creation.
The Assembly has drawn the document together with input from across the Church, including from our agencies delivering community services on the ground, our Uniting Aboriginal Islander and Christian Congress (UAICC) and others working in the area of justice.
The principles we believe will guide a better future are:
- Build Resilient Individuals, Families and Communities
- Build a more equal society
- Build a nation where everyone is respected and has a voice
- Creative, collaborative and constructive leadership to rebuild Australia.
- Build for a sustainable future
The Uniting Church has further described 12 key actions to achieve these principles.
- Stimulation of the economy with a focus on job creation by investing in projects that are good for all Australians and for our planet.
- Fix gaps in the social security safety net and ensure a permanent increase to JobSeeker Allowance, providing a liveable safety net for those out-of-work.
- Ensure community services are properly resourced to support vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals, families and communities, and to respond to areas of growing need, including domestic and family violence and mental health.
- First Peoples and rural and remote communities have adequate access to food and health services.
- Initiatives that improve access to affordable housing for all people.
- Ensuring our tax system is fair and transparent, with individuals and corporations contributing fairly to the costs of post-COVID recovery.
- Doing our share for the global recovery from COVID-19 and building a more equitable, safe and sustainable world for the future.
- Reducing fossil fuel usage, and excessive consumption of resources to build for a sustainable future
- Adequate support for people living with disability and older Australians.
- Prioritising work towards Voice, Truth and Treaty for First Peoples, meaningful action on incarceration rates for Indigenous Australians and calling out racism and building inclusion across all Australian society.
- A focus on creating pathways to permanent migration.
- Collaboration between Governments and civil society with political leadership focused on common good.
To read the document in full click the Download link below.