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.
Meeting in Darwin today, the nation’s peak community sector bodies issued a joint call for the Australian Senate to vote down the harsh Federal Government proposal to withhold income support from young people and some single parents. The heads of ACOSS and state and territory Councils of Social Service said:
“We call on Senators to reject these changes which will only cause greater financial distress and an additional barrier for people to get back into paid work. With just one job available for every five people looking for paid work, the focus should be on addressing the lack of job opportunities, which is the key driver of rising unemployment, especially long term unemployment.”
Read Full Release here.
Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, Deputy CEO said:
“The rise in the unemployment rate from 6.1 to 6.3% shows the need for a coordinated national strategy – one that includes a plan to tackle the lack of job opportunities, and invests in adequate supports in order to prepare people for those jobs that are, and will become, available.
“With just one job available for every five people looking for paid work, it’s clear that the lack of job opportunities is the major driver of rising unemployment.
Read Full Release 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.