Ahead of their meeting with the Prime Minister tomorrow, ACOSS joins other organisations to call for urgent action from energy retailers to help reduce high electricity costs, which are pushing low-income and disadvantaged households over the edge.
ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie, said: “ACOSS is deeply concerned about the impacts of increasingly high prices on people who are disadvantaged and living on low incomes. The price of electricity has increased by 114% over the past decade, leaving many people having to choose between paying high bills and buying enough food to feed their family. ”
COSS urges the Australian Parliament to deliver a free vote on marriage equality and to vote yes. ACOSS also applauds all those across Australian society who continue to campaign for marriage equality through a parliamentary vote.
ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said: “Each day, people directly affected by the denial of the human right to marry the person you love, are forced to keep sharing their intimate stories of pain, distress, love and hope. We will continue to do so as we build the unstoppable force for change.”
ACOSS applauds the decision of the Opposition Labor Party to oppose the Federal Government proposal to introduce drug testing for people needing social security support. The Opposition joins the Australian Greens in opposing this proposal.
Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS said: “The proposal of the Federal Government to introduce mandatory drug testing is plain wrong. Health experts don’t support it, health workers don’t support it, community organisations don’t support it, and it’s because it won’t work and offends basic rights. The evidence is clear. The Federal Government drug testing proposal will make things worse for people in the community who may be dealing with a drug addiction. It would also further stigmatise and demean people who are relying on social security and have a right to receive support when they need it. We thank the Opposition and the Australian Greens for taking this stand.”
The Melbourne Institute’s HILDA report released today shows child poverty in single parent families has reached a crisis level, rising from 18% to 23% in the two years since social security for sole parents was cut in 2013. The causes of rising child poverty in single parent families include inadequate and frozen family payments, lack of decently-paid jobs, unaffordable childcare and low home ownership. “The increase in child poverty is a reality that our political leaders have known about and yet continue to make worse”, says Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO. “We can end child poverty if governments have the will to make the necessary reforms.
ACOSS calls on the Federal Government to work with the Opposition to reform trusts to increase transparency, fairness and much needed revenue for essential services. “We welcome the Federal Opposition’s announcement of policy in this area. If implemented, the Opposition’s proposal would be a big step towards improving the equity and transparency of our tax system,” says Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS. “We urge the Federal Government to also take the need for reform in this area into serious consideration.”
A new report calls on the Australian Government to put people first and end the deadlock on energy transition to ensure people on low-income and experiencing disadvantage have access to affordable, reliable and clean energy into the future. The report Empowering disadvantaged households to access affordable, clean energy was produced by the Australian Council of Social Service, Brotherhood of St Laurence and The Climate Institute after consulting with over 120 community, environment and energy experts across Australia from March – June 2017.
ACOSS will call on Parliament to again reject cutting the Energy Supplement at a Senate hearing being held in Melbourne, along with a number of other civil society groups. Dr Cassandra Goldie says removing the energy supplement is cutting the incomes of Australia’s most disadvantaged people. “We cannot fathom why Government persists in trying to cut the incomes of people who have the least,” says Dr Goldie. “If this Bill goes through, 1.7 million people on the lowest incomes will be worse off, including those paying for accommodation, food, travel costs and day-to-day bills while living on just $38 a day.”
ACOSS strongly opposes the proposal to abolish the Energy Supplement, an action which would remove almost $1 bn from our social security system, and which would cut payments to people who are living on an inadequate $31 a day. Single parents, pensioners and carers stand to lose between $4 and $7 a week if the Energy Supplement is removed.
To cement the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a universal system for all Australians, sufficient and sustainable funding must be secured now, while there is strong bipartisan commitment. The NDIS must not become a ‘political football’.
ACOSS again calls on the Federal Government to immediately end the robodebt program ahead of the release of the Senate Inquiry report today. “Since its adoption twelve months ago, robodebt has issued thousands of debt notices in error to parents, people with disabilities, carers and those seeking paid work, resulting in people slapped with Centrelink debts they do not owe or debts higher than what they owe” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO.
Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, says under the government’s proposed demerit system, 80 thousand people are expected to lose between one to four weeks’ payment. “How is making people destitute helping them to get paid work?” asks Dr Goldie. “Our big problem is the lack of employment opportunities and serious concerns that people are giving up and losing hope, including young people.” “Long term unemployment has nearly tripled since the Global Financial Crisis. For every job available there are ten applicants. The real issue for government is the availability of paid work and adequate supports including vocational education and training.
Climate change is affecting us now and the future is here: it’s time to finally get Australia on track
ACOSS is calling on governments to use the Finkel Report to now design an energy system that will both reduce shocking energy prices and confidently deliver on our international obligation to reduce carbon pollution and transition to clean energy. Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, says we need an energy supply which is both affordable and secure for everyone and as clean as it can possibly be: “Energy prices must be turned around. Thousands are being disconnected while others are wrapping themselves in blankets to limit their energy consumption. People on low incomes cannot cope, young children and older people are being badly effected.”
The Australian Council of Social Service urges the Parliament to again stand up against the latest attempt by the Turnbull Government to cut the incomes of people who have the very least in the country. ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, “The proposal to cut the Energy Supplement will directly hit people already living in poverty by slashing between $4 to $7 per week from people trying to survive on social security payments, including the $38-per-day Newstart Allowance.
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ACOSS welcomes the change of tack to invest in health, education and housing, but the 2014 Budget mindset to demonise and impoverish the most disadvantaged continues. “The government is trying to put the 2014 horror budget behind it, securing the National Disability Insurance Scheme and putting housing affordability on the agenda but the government still neglects, blames and targets the most disadvantaged in the social security system”, said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
The Australian Council of Social Service has called for an end to media attacks on people who are unemployed, releasing a short Social Security Snapshot dispelling the myth that we have a ‘welfare blowout’ and that people unemployed are the cause of it. Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, says it is time for the Federal Government to tell the Australian community the real story about social security in Australia and prepare a Federal Budget that genuinely helps lift people out of poverty, rather than disadvantage them even further.
ACOSS and National Shelter today released a joint 6 point National Housing Affordability Plan. They have urged the Federal Government not to shirk its lead responsibility to address the housing affordability crisis affecting millions across the country and increasing financial risk to the national economy. ‘The Federal Government must grasp the housing affordability crisis with both hands and put in place the right policies for the future.” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO.
RoboDebt must go: Community sector calls for end of Centrelink’s auto debt recovery program and the bullying of victims
ACOSS has called on the Turnbull Government to throw out harsh proposals that have repeatedly failed to pass Parliament and adopt budget policies that are fair and sustainable. “After two years of chasing the ill-conceived 2014 Budget cuts, it’s time the Government recast its Budget strategy and moved on from the one-sided focus on spending cuts, particularly in social security,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
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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.