Register now for the ACOSS conference & HESTA community awards dinner

Registrations are now open for the ACOSS conference on the 17-18  November and the HESTA community awards dinner on the first night of the conference.

Find out more and register here.

 Child poverty on the rise

ACOSS today released a new report showing that 731,300 children or 17.4% of all children in Australia are living in poverty, an increase of 2 percentage points over the past 10 years (from 2004-2014).

The report finds that nearly three million people were living in poverty in Australia in 2014, or 13.3% of the general population.

“The overall picture from the last decade is one of persistent and entrenched poverty across the community with an increase in child poverty.  It is a national shame that after 25 years of economic growth, we have not done better at changing this trajectory and ensuring our most precious national resource, our children, are given the best possible start in life,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Read the full media release | Read the report

Marriage equality

ACOSS urges parties to oppose the plebiscite on marriage equality and support free parliamentary vote instead. We urge you to deliver justice at last for LGBTI communities, without more pain and suffering, save the $160million and spend it where the resources are needed, addressing urgent social need.

See our letters sent last week to the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, and Leader of the Greens.

Reprieve for Newstart recipients but the budget threat remains

Responding to the Government and Labor’s renegotiated Omnibus Bill, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie says that while the retention of the Energy Supplement for those receiving social security payments is welcome news, the threat of further cuts to people who are unemployed and families on low incomes remains. “It is unfortunate we have had to debate whether or not to cut the $38-per-day Newstart Allowance by removing the Energy Supplement. We should be focussing on how to increase the payment so people can live with dignity while looking for work.
“We also welcome the removal of measures that would have cut funding to public dental services and cut income support payments to people in psychiatric confinement. We call on the Federal Government to not seek to introduce any of the measures removed from the Omnibus Bill separately, there has already been too much uncertainty for people on low incomes.”

Read full media release here

Joint statement of concern regarding Australia’s social security system

ACOSS, along with the ACTU, the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union, the Anti-Poverty Network (South Australia), the Centre of Full Employment and Equity, the Fair Go for Pensioners Coalition and columnist Van Badham have released an open letter to the Government expressing concern at the stigma surrounding the unemployed and social security recipients, leading tot he criminalisation of poor Australians.

Read the full statement here

Unemployed and pensioners “collateral damage” in budget fight

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said the budget fight looming at the start 45th Parliament threatens to hurt those on the lowest incomes.

“The Government has announced this week that the first order of business for the new Parliament will be to cut the Newstart Allowance, pensions and family payments through removal of the energy supplement,” said Dr Goldie.

ACOSS, Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union, Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, Carers Australia, Jobs Australia, National Council of Single Mothers and their Children, National Welfare Rights Network, People with Disability, and Welfare Rights Centre have jointly written to both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition calling on them to retain the energy supplement.

Read the letter to the Prime Minister and the letter to the Leader of the Opposition.

Read full media release

Royal Commission must examine Nauru abuse

Australia’s peak body for aid and international development, the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), and peak body for social welfare, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) have  called for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to urgently examine incidents of child abuse and harm in the Australian-run immigration detention centre on Nauru. “Today the Guardian Australia published 2,000 leaked incident reports that are shocking in their detail and the horrifying level of abuse of asylum seekers on Nauru they revealed,” said ACFID CEO Marc Purcell. We have a Royal Commission tasked with investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse. In the face of the extraordinary evidence of such abuse and harassment of children in immigration detention in Nauru there must be an investigation into whether this is an explicit breach of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s duty of care.”

Read full media release

ACOSS supports Royal Commission into juvenile detention

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) supports a Royal Commission into juvenile detention. ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said the treatment of young detainees in the Northern Territory revealed on Four Corners last night was horrific. “Immediate steps need to be taken to get to the bottom of what happened and ensure it never happens again. The abuse of children is abhorrent and this case was particularly disturbing given it occurred when they were in the custody of the Northern Territory Government.”

Read full media release

ACOSS welcomes second Turnbull Government, calls for consensus approach to Budget policy

Read full media release

Inequality in Australia: watch and share the video!