Better Ways to Spend our $8 billion

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According to the Commonwealth Bank, Australians are set to spend more than $7.9 billion this year on Christmas gifts. Here are three ways we could collectively better spend this money.

1. Reinstate our spending on global poverty. The Federal Government has slashed $656 million from this year’s budget. Surely if we can send $8 billion on Christmas presents, we can give back the $656 million we have taken from the poor?

2. Lift our refugee resettlement intake from 6,000 to 27,000. The Federal Government spends $550 million per year on resettlement services for refugees. Lifting the intake from the current 6,000 pa to the 27,000 recommended by the Refugee Council of Australia would cost an additional $1.93 billion. Mmm…another pair or red undies or a refugee finding safety?

3. Lift the value of welfare payments. According to the Australian Council for Social Services 2012 Poverty Report, 2,265,000 Australians (12.8% of all people) are living below the poverty line, defined as 50% of median income. Unemployment benefits are as low as $35/day. ACOSS is calling for a $50/week increase, which would cost $1.5 billion.

These three alternatives would eat up just half of our Christmas gift spending. What else/different would you suggest?

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