ACOSS raises concerns with Debit Card Trials

The Australian Council of Social Service has called on the Senate Committee inquiring into the proposed trials of the ‘cashless’ welfare card in disadvantaged communities to withhold supporting the Government Bill until a number of important concerns have been addressed.

In releasing its submission today to the Senate Inquiry into the trials that will significantly restrict people’s access to cash (a benchmark 20% cash, and 80% quarantined), ACOSS raises a number of questions for the Committee to investigate before determining whether the trials are appropriate.

Find out more and read full statement here.

New leadership must unite the country and include community in decision making

Australia’s peak community welfare body, ACOSS, has called on the new national political leadership to strive to unite the country through fair, inclusive and collaborative decision-making in addressing the nation’s economic, social and environmental challenges.

“We welcome the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s commitment to develop policies in a collaborative manner. This must include consultation with the community in an open process so together we can come up with the right long term policies for our nation,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Read Full Statement here.

ACOSS welcomes Senate rejection of four-week wait for unemployment benefits

ACOSS has welcomed the Australian Senate’s vote against the Federal Government’s planned four week wait period for young people to access income support, adding it’s time for the government to move on and focus on programs like the new Transition to Work scheme that support young people into paid work at a time of rising unemployment.

“Denying people income support is not the Australian way. We congratulate the Labor Party, Australian Greens, and Senators  Ricky Muir, Nick Xenophon, Jacqui Lambie, Dio Wang, and Glenn Lazarus who listened to widespread community concerns and joined to defeat the bill,” said Acting ACOSS CEO Peter Davidson.

Read Full Statement here:

ACOSS takes the lead at National Reform Summit

ACOSS played a prominent role in the National Reform Summit (26 August 2015), which brought business, union and community groups together with the aim of reaching consensus on some of the big reform challenges facing our nation – such as productivity growth, fiscal policy, tax reform, and retirement incomes.

We join with our Summit colleagues in agreeing that it was a good and necessary first step towards effective reform; and was a success, having reached agreement on a set of principles and actions for next steps which were outlined in a Joint Statement released at the end of the day.

The Summit groups committed to work together on more detailed work in all the key areas identified in order to progress much needed reform in the national interest.

Find more about the Summit and follow developments here.

Restructure super system to deliver income security, fund crucial services and drive inclusive growth

Releasing its submission to the Government’s retirement incomes review today, the Australian Council of Social Service is calling for structural reform of inefficient tax breaks for superannuation to improve retirement incomes for the majority while helping to fund future growing needs in health, aged care and social security as the population ages.

“Security in retirement is not just about income, it’s equally about access to essential health and aged care services and having an affordable place to live,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Read Full Release here.

Govt leaders urged to find long term solutions to fund vital public services

Councils of Social Service (COSS) across Australia today called on the Council of Australian Governments to work together on long term solutions to fund important universal and social services such as health, education, housing and community services into the future.

As our national leaders prepare to meet, we urge them to put aside political differences and forge a way forward which guarantees access to services for all Australians into the future, regardless of location or income, through secure long-term revenue streams.

Read Full Release here.

Inequality in Australia: watch and share the video!

A nation splintering amid growing inequality: ACOSS report

ACOSS today urged Australian governments to make addressing growing inequality a top policy priority following its new report revealing that income and wealth has become more concentrated in the hands of fewer people over the past two decades across the country.

Releasing its analysis, Inequality in Australia: A nation divided, ACOSS says that while inequality is not extreme in Australia by international comparison, we are trending in the wrong direction.

Read Full Statement here and more information here.

A new report released today by ACOSS shows that, by keeping most of the 2014 savings measures and delivering new cuts, the 2015 Budget would strip an estimated $15 billion over four years from basic services and supports, with total projected cuts of $80 billion from health and schools funding to the States over the next decade.

“Last year’s devastating Federal Budget casts a long shadow that undermines some advances made in this year’s Budget,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Read Full Statement and Download Report.

ACOSS on Budget 2015: Better direction but lower income earners still doing the heavy lifting

Speaking at the release of the Federal Budget, ACOSS said it shows some improvements in strategy, with a fairer approach to pension reform and increased investment in child care. But the overall package retains many harsh cuts from last year’s Budget and will leave many people on the lowest incomes worse off. The Budget also fails to stimulate investment in jobs growth.

Read Full Statement here.