Alliance of community groups launches petition to reform negative gearing

A national alliance of community housing and welfare groups says it’s time get serious about reforming negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount and put housing affordability front and centre of this federal election campaign.

The alliance –made up of Homelessness Australia (HA), National Shelter, the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) – asks all Australians to sign a petition calling for tax reforms that put ordinary people ahead of the interests of investors.

“Australia is in the midst of a housing crisis and current tax policy has fuelled Australian housing prices to record and unaffordable levels,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Read our full media release here.

ACOSS Budget Analysis 2016

We have released an in-depth analysis of the Federal Budget, which was handed down several weeks ago.

The main conclusion drawn from this analysis is that the impacts of this Budget will further disadvantage people who are already experiencing disadvantage in Australia.

Read the analysis here.

Australians asked to Vote Home in bid to end the housing crisis by 2025

Australia is in the midst of a housing crisis, with house prices and rents rapidly increasing, and people paying so much for housing that they are forced into financial hardship.

In the lead-up to the federal election, a national alliance of housing, homelessness and welfare peak bodies has formed to ensure housing affordability and homelessness are tier one election issues.
The alliance – formed by Homelessness Australia (HA), National Shelter, the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) – asks all Australians to stand up for change by signing the Vote Home petition calling for a national strategy to end the housing crisis by 2025.

Read our full media release here.

Civil Society Statement of Concern – The Media and Mr Duncan Storrar

ACOSS has a joined more than 30 community leaders, commentators and thinkers in civil society and civic participation to express concerns about the media treatment of Mr Duncan Storrar and what this says about the current state of our democracy.

The patent disregard of the impact of this reporting on an individual is an abuse of power. The reporting has also been a further example of the willingness of parts of the media to vilify and demonise people on low incomes or from marginalised backgrounds. The issues involved go beyond one individual and represent a turning point for the open debate, discussion, criticism and dissent which underpin our free society.

It is a public right to ask questions. It is the job of the media to report them and the responsibility of parliamentarians to protect our ability to do so.

Read our full media release here.

PaTH Program: Change in direction welcome, especially wage subsidies, but internships must be carefully designed to protect young people

Responding to media reports, ACOSS confirmed that it has welcomed the Government’s shift away from the compulsory and ineffective work for the dole program towards a focus on real work experience in workplaces for young people who are long-term employed. However, ACOSS reiterates that clear protections must be in place to prevent exploitation of young people, or displacement of jobs.

“Over half a million people who are unemployed long term are at grave risk of being locked out of the labour market. If a long-term unemployed young person gets a job as a result of being given the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities, that’s good for them, good for society, and it also increases employment in the long run,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO.

Read our full media release and policy briefing

Some positive directions, but budget locks in harsh cuts – with more likely to come

In responding to the Budget, Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO said: “The tightening of super tax concessions and changes to youth employment programs are welcome, but harsh cuts affecting people on low incomes remain locked in, with more announced and more likely to come. The failure to strengthen revenue is a major problem, and this Budget reveals the ongoing consequences to essential services and the social safety net.”

“The Budget locks in $13 billion in cuts from family payments, income support for young people and paid parental leave, and adds a further $3 billion in cuts to payments and essential services. This includes cuts to Medicare and dental health and income support for people with disability.”

Read Full Media Release here.

What Australia’s community sector wants and doesn’t want in the Federal Budget

Community sector organisations have issued a united call for this year’s Federal Budget to put reducing poverty and inequality at the heart of its purpose. This should be done by prioritising revenue raising measures to fund essential services and jobs growth, rather than by focusing narrowly on cuts to spending and unaffordable tax cuts in an election year.

“At a time when public budgets are under stress and key services such as health and education are underfunded, the first priority should be to make sure we have the revenue we need to fund our schools, our hospitals, the social safety net and vital community services to support vulnerable people in our community, including those newly arrived, as well as meeting our international obligations to those overseas.

Read the Full Statement and list of Signatories here.

ACOSS calls for State stamp duty – land tax switch to lift economic growth

ACOSS today released a policy brief highlighting the economic benefits of a switch from stamp duties to land tax.

The case for tax reform: Stamp Duties and Land Tax calls on the Commonwealth to support the states to design and implement the change, including by putting some revenue on the table to help with transition arrangements.

“If the goal of tax reform is economic growth, then the best reform option is a switch from stamp duties to efficient land taxes,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Read Full Statement and Find out More here.

Register for the ACOSS conference & HESTA community awards dinner!

Registrations are now open for the ACOSS conference on the 18-19 November and the HESTA community awards dinner on the first night of the conference, 19 November. Find out more and register 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.