Social Gospel has lost the battle to be recognised as a public charity under the government’s social security payments scheme.
It has been a big hit with its “Social Security Fund”, which pays people who are unemployed or who are on low incomes for their monthly payments.
But it now has the backing of some of the wealthiest Australians, who have spent billions of dollars on the scheme.
In a letter to the Treasury, the chief executive of Social Gospel, Michael Taylor, said it was now worth about $4bn and that it had received the support of the wealthy, such as Clive Palmer, Clive Palmer and the billionaire industrialist Andrew Forrest.
The scheme, which was introduced in April, has been hailed by social advocates for being a success.
But Mr Taylor said the scheme had “failed miserably” to provide enough funding for the unemployed.
He said the money the scheme has received had not been matched by the $5.5bn in “savings” that had been promised by the Government.
The government says the scheme is working, with about 4.7 million people receiving payments and a $1,500 increase in the tax-free threshold.
Mr Taylor says it is a “complete failure”.
“The scheme has not delivered any savings.
It hasn’t been able to deliver any increase in social security entitlements, which is what we had hoped for,” he said.
“If you look at the total amount of money the Government has been spending on the programme, the last two years have been the worst in the history of the scheme, and this Government has made that clear.”
Mr Taylor said he was “deeply concerned” about the financial situation of the charity.
“[The Government] have decided that we can’t continue to operate as a private charity.”
This is a very significant blow to us and to our ability to operate in this country,” he added.
Mr Palmer and Forrest, the billionaire, who owns a $2.5 billion coalmine in South Australia, are among the many people who have donated millions of dollars to Social Gospel since the scheme was introduced.
The Government’s new scheme is designed to support those in work.
It will pay people for their first six months of work in their first job, up to a maximum of $250 a fortnight.
But if they are working at a rate of 15 per cent or more, or at least 15 hours a week, the payment will be reduced to $150 a fortnight for the rest of the 12 months of employment.
Under the scheme there is also a cap on how much money a person can make in a month.
It is unclear how many people have received payments from the scheme in the last week.
The number of people receiving benefits will be capped at 1.5 million a month, but it is unclear if there are any changes to the scheme which could affect the number of recipients.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services said: “We will continue to support the Government’s goal of delivering the social security payment scheme for those who need it.”
A spokesman for Mr Taylor declined to comment.
However, Mr Forrest said the charity had been a “huge success”.
He told the ABC he was pleased that the Government was backing it.
Social Gospel has been criticised for being an easy target for political attack because it has been accused of making the poorest Australians “feel like second-class citizens”.
A previous Treasury inquiry into the scheme found that the scheme would provide no benefit to people on low or middle incomes.
But the latest review, published last month, said the Government should make “significant” changes to improve the scheme so that it was more accessible to people in lower income brackets.
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