Weatherill’s tax and services proposal poses big risks for taxpayers & service users

ACOSS and the South Australian Council of Social Service responded jointly today to SA Premier Jay Weatherill’s proposed tax and federation reform deal.

“The South Australian Premier’s proposals underscore the risks of tax and federation reform being pursued as a ‘deal’ between Governments rather than a reform agenda which delivers clear benefits for people as both taxpayers and service users,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“The proposal in its present form poses big risks for low and middle income taxpayers and service users.”

Read Full Joint Statement here.

Government must release modelling on planned cuts to family payments: ACOSS

ACOSS today called on the Federal Government to release modelling on the impact of the planned $4.8 billion cuts to family payments.

CEO Cassandra Goldie said: “These are significant cuts that will have a devastating impact, especially on single parents and low income couple families, and should not be pursued.

“It is unfortunate that the Government continues to resist disclosure of the full impacts. Until now it has only released selected cameos of families in paid work with younger children who are also using child care. What we haven’t seen is separate modelling of the impacts of family payments and childcare packages and cohort analysis of impacts on single parent and couple families with children of different ages. Without this information it’s hard to see how parliament could be expected to vote on such changes.”

Read Full Statement here.

Using a higher GST to pay for income tax cuts is a ‘recipe for more inequality’: new report

ACOSS has released new modelling from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) to show what an increase in the GST to 15% would mean for households across the community. The NATSEM modelling also shows what  it would mean if the Federal Government used the revenue from an increase in the GST to fund a reduction in personal income taxes across different income groups.

“The NATSEM modelling of an increase to 15% on the existing base of the GST or a broadening of the GST base to fresh food, health and education confirms that either change would be regressive. Low and modest income households would clearly pay a higher proportion of their income, in comparison to higher income households through an increase in the GST, whether by increasing the rate or broadening the base by removing the exemptions,” said ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Read Full Statement here.

Download Report here.

Back to the drawing board on family payments: new bill still hits poorest families

Responding today to the introduction of a new family payments bill into the Parliament, ACOSS has urged against looking for budget savings in family payments for single parents and low income couple households, and advanced an alternative reform proposal.

“On our numbers a low income single parent family with 2 children will take a hit of more than $60 per week or $3000 per year over time once their youngest child turns 13, due to the reduction in Part B and the withdrawal of end of year supplements. We cannot support this,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Read Full Media Release here.

Councils of Social Service: ‘community service guarantees’ & fair tax reform to pay for them

ACOSS and the State and Territory Councils of Social Service have released a statement on reform of the federation based on legislated ‘community service guarantees’ in areas of shared responsibility to ensure universal access to affordable essential services for people across the country. The statement also sets directions for tax reform to help pay for these guarantees.

“A basic duty of governments is to provide certainty for people that when they need a doctor, home care, or schooling for their children, those services are available and of good quality regardless of their income and where they live. The present federal system in Australia fails to provide that certainty. Federation and taxation reform are needed to guarantee access to essential services into the future”, said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO, speaking on behalf of the Councils.

Read Full Media Release here. Read Statement on Federation Reform here.

Councils of Social Service call for National Anti-Poverty Plan

At the start of Anti-Poverty Week, ACOSS and all eight State and Territory Councils of Social Service, are calling for the development of a national plan to tackle growing poverty and inequality in Australia, including setting targets to ensure the incomes of the lowest income earners increase at least at the pace of those in the middle.

For too long, poverty reduction has been off the political agenda, rarely spoken about or acknowledged by our political leaders. This month, the Australian Government signed up to poverty reduction targets as part of its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals. Following this commitment, and as public policy debate opens up in the wake of leadership change, we must ensure there is space for a national conversation about poverty.

Read Full Joint 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 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.

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.