Election 2016: Plans for Growth, but no Coalition plans for sharing it

ACOSS has published the responses from the major Parties in the 2016 Federal Election to important questions about their plans to reduce poverty and inequality while growing the economy.

“People are concerned about housing affordability, finding secure work, accessing affordable health care and getting a quality education for their children. They are also aware of the risks of global warming and worry about whether they will be able to cope financially if they lose their jobs, retire, or have to survive on low or insecure wages.” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO.

“Getting economic and budget policy right is important – ACOSS has helped lead debates about reforming tax and restoring the Budget and we take these issues seriously. However, a narrow focus on lifting GDP risks losing sight of its purpose: a decent life for everyone, with the priority being to lift the living standards of people being left behind.

“’Trickle down’ economics does not work. There is clear evidence from the IMF and OECD that income inequality– which is at its highest level in decades – is a drag on economic growth, and that income growth for the top 20% does not flow through to income growth for those at the bottom.

Read responses


ACOSS welcomes Labor’s ‘Future Jobs’ program announcement

ACOSS welcomes Labor’s proposal today to establish a ‘Future Jobs’ program for long term unemployed young people, if elected. While the program would reach a smaller number of unemployed people than the Coalition’s Youth Jobs PaTH scheme (20,000 a year instead of 30,000), it has two important advantages: unemployed people undertaking job placements would be paid a training wage and they would have access to recognised vocational training.

Both parties have now acknowledged how tough it is for people who are unemployed long term to get a foot in the door in today’s job market, and taken significant steps away from the discredited ‘Work for the Dole’ approach towards real work experience combined with training.

Both parties need to greatly expand these kinds of programs to reach more of the half a million people unemployed long term, and the Coalition needs to revise its Youth PaTH scheme to reduce the risks of underpayment or exploitation of young people.

See ACOSS’ analysis of the Coalition’s Youth PaTH program


ACOSS calls on Coalition to retreat from Budget measures that hurt people in poverty

ACOSS has called on the Coalition to retreat from pursing the so-called ‘Zombie’ and other Federal budget policy measures that would reduce incomes to adults and children at risk of or already living in poverty.

“Casting a shadow over this year’s federal election campaign are $18 billion dollars of ‘zombie’ Budget measures, including payment cuts from the controversial 2014 Federal Budget that hit people on low incomes in Australia” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“Also hanging over the heads of low-income households are $1.4 billion in proposed cuts to Energy Supplement payments to people claiming pensions, allowances and family payments announced in the 2016 Budget.

Read the full media release:


ALP commitment to partner with community sector welcome

The Australian Council of Social Service has today welcomed the release of the ALP’s ‘Plan for a Strong, Vibrant and Sustainable Community Sector’ which rightly recognises the community and not-for-profit sector’s critical role in designing good policy and delivering essential services to communities.

“This policy contains a series of welcome measures which would help the community sector get on with the job of supporting and advocating on behalf of Australia’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“Importantly, it reaffirms the ALP’s commitment to respect community organisations’ vital role in speaking up about issues affecting the people and communities they serve, even where that involves criticism of government policy. This is vital to a healthy democracy and robust civil society.

Read the full media release here:


Seniors and community groups urge PM to hold firm on superannuation 

Australia’s peak seniors and community sector organisations urged the Prime Minister to stand firm on the Government’s commitment to deliver the fairer superannuation system announced in the 2016 Budget.

The nation’s seniors peak body, COTA Australia, and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) signed a joint letter to the Prime Minister, concerned that good policy was under threat from pressure being applied by a small number of adversely effected individuals.

COTA recently surveyed its membership Election Panel and 87% agreed that ‘the current tax concessions on superannuation contribution favour the well-off’.

Read the full media release here:


ACOSS calls on all parties to put poverty on the election agenda

The Australian Council of Social Service has today written an open letter asking all the major political parties to put reducing poverty and inequality at the heart of the 2016 Federal Election.

“Economic growth needs to be inclusive and to lift the living standards of people who have the least. To achieve this, active policies are needed. ACOSS calls on the major parties to clearly set out their policies in this Election to address the primary drivers of poverty and inequality in Australia,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, ACOSS.

Read our full media release here.


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.


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


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.


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.