Everyone should have equal access to health care in Australia. But there is a huge difference in health outcomes depending on income. This is especially true for particular groups in the community, such as people living in precarious housing, or those dealing with the impacts of family violence. View it now
As Parliament returns today on the Monday of Anti-Poverty Week, the Australian Council of Social Service is calling on the Government to take the single most effective step to reduce the persistent rates of poverty in our wealthy country by increasing Newstart.
The Australian Council of Social Service is calling on the Treasurer to expand the Retirement Incomes Review panel to ensure that expertise about the needs of people on lower incomes is reflected.
“While ACOSS welcomes the review, the panel does not include expertise from community organisations representing and working with people on lower incomes. This is a serious gap that goes to the credibility of the process,” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said. Read more
Offensive comments made by the Minister of Social Services show she is out-of-touch with the harsh realities of trying to get by on Newstart and the strong community support for an urgent, real increase after 25 years.
The Australian Council of Social Service is calling on the Minister to retract the comments and apologise to the hundreds of thousands of people trapped in poverty on Newstart. Read more
The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes the call by the Productivity Commission for an increase to Rent Assistance, in its report released today on rental stress, which highlights the lack of public housing available.
The report – ‘Vulnerable Private Renters: Evidence and Options’ – finds the number of low-income households in rental stress has doubled in the past two decades. The report also finds that more 600,000 households are in rental stress (spending more than 30% of income on rent). Read More
Parliament must stand firm against expensive, ineffective, demeaning policies designed to distract from urgent need to increase Newstart
The Australian Council of Social Service is calling on the Parliament to resolutely block the Government’s demeaning, expensive drug-testing plan, and any attempt by the Government to expand the impractical cashless debit card. It was reported yesterday that the Prime Minister planned to take his time before considering plans for an expansion of the cashless debit card. The latest evaluation has not been completed, communities have not been consulted with beyond the trial sites and legislation for an expansion has not been drafted. Read more
The Australian Council of Social Service condemns the Government’s decision to bring back legislation that would see drug testing of people receiving Newstart or Youth Allowance in three trial sites around the country. As reported today, the trial sites would be in Logan, Canterbury Bankstown and Mandurah and the testing would apply to new recipients. Read more
The GDP figures released today further the strong case for increasing Newstart and investing in social housing in order to stimulate the economy, while acting on poverty and homelessness. “The Government can effectively work to boost the flagging economy by acting on poverty and homelessness,” ACOSS Director of Policy Jacqueline Phillips said. Read more
The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes the Opposition joining much of the Crossbench and the Greens in calling for the error-ridden, inhumane robodebt program to be abolished. ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said robodebt needed to be replaced with a humane system of debt recovery. Read more
“More food for my kids”; “replace worn-through clothing”; “keep a car running to get to a job” – ACOSS survey shows what a Newstart increase would really mean
The ACOSS says the results of its survey of Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients must serve as an urgent, moral wake up call for the Government. Read more
Unnecessary, demeaning cashless debit card unfairly targets people just because they can’t find paid work
Following reports that Nationals are considering an expansion of the cashless debit card as part of a Newstart increase, the Australian Council of Social Service is reiterating its strong position against the cashless debit card. Read more
The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes the Australian Medical Association’s support for an increase to Newstart, the payment for people looking for paid work. At the National Press Club, Australian Medical Association President Tony Bartone said: “People on that allowance are experiencing significant stress and issues and that must have health impacts on their wellbeing.” Read more
The Australian Council of Social Service is alarmed by a report today that the Government intervened in a Parliamentary Inquiry to remove a recommendation to increase Newstart. ACOSS Acting CEO Jacqueline Phillips said: “It’s outrageous that a Government Minister would step in and change a Parliamentary Inquiry’s recommendations, which should be based purely on evidence presented to the Inquiry. Read more
Government Senator Dean Smith has expressed support for an increase to Newstart in the Senate today, becoming the latest member of the Government to add to the growing support for an increase to Newstart in the Parliament, the business sector and the community. Read more
Barnaby Joyce joins growing Parliamentary support for Newstart increase and highlights living costs in the bush and city
The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes growing support in the Government and across the Parliament for an increase to Newstart, including from Barnaby Joyce, whose call for an increase has been reported on today. Read more
We, the undersigned LGBTIQ+ advocates, organisations and allies, place on the public record our support for protections from discrimination for people of all faiths, and for people who don’t hold religious beliefs, provided these laws do not sanction new forms of discrimination against others. Read more
People on Newstart and Youth Allowance will be meeting with their MPs during a national Week of Action this week as part of the Raise the Rate campaign, sharing their stories and calling on their MPs to immediately raise the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance. Read more
Formally acknowledging and reconciling the wrongs perpetrated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—and their long legacy of ongoing trauma—must be a national priority. It’s crucial the Federal Government works genuinely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to get the process and the wording right. Read more
With a Grattan Institute report out today showing the Government’s proposed high-end (Stage 3) tax cuts would make our tax system less progressive than at any time since the 1950s, ACOSS is calling on Parliamentarians to stand up for a fair and sustainable tax system. Read more
The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes Labor’s sensible opposition to the Stage 3 tax cuts, which risk future cuts to essential services. Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “The Opposition is taking a responsible position in opposing stage 3 of the tax cuts which would cost $12 billion dollars every year from 2024, on top of $18 billion already legislated.” Read more
People earning $200,000 a year are among the top 5% of income earners, says the Australian Council of Social Service in a strong warning against stage 3 of the tax cuts, which threaten service funding into the future. Read more
Parliament should split the forthcoming tax bill and invest in payments and services to grow jobs
We need to strengthen growth in jobs, incomes and economic opportunities. The government has prioritised its tax cut package, which it insists the Parliament passes in full. Even though the first stage of these cuts would provide a timely economic boost, the subsequent stages are scheduled for 2022 and 2024 – when nobody knows what the economy and budget will look like. Those later ‘stages’ should not be legislated now. There are better ways to strengthen growth and bring longer-term social and economic benefits, such as Raising the Rate of Newstart and related payments; and investing in social housing and renewable energy infrastructure.
Find out more and take action
The Australian Council of Social Service congratulates members of the new Morrison Government Ministry, especially Minister Ken Wyatt, the first Aboriginal Commonwealth Cabinet Minister and Minister for Indigenous Australians, as National Reconciliation Week begins. Read more
ACOSS congratulates the Coalition on being re-elected and will work with the Morrison Government to support people in need and to tackle the challenges we face as a country. ACOSS will continue to advocate for an increase to Newstart, which is widely supported across the country as an important moral issue and by the business community as good monetary policy. Read more
ACOSS today pays tribute to former Prime Minister Bob Hawke as a great Australian leader, whose transformative agenda made Australia a fairer, kinder, more equal and inclusive country. Read more
Housing, homelessness and community peaks today condemned the use of mock rent increase notices as election material, which target people already living in rental stress. Read more
The Government’s first home buyers’ announcement, which was matched by the Opposition, is not the answer to our housing affordability crisis. ACOSS warns that the Government’s budget forecasts, combined with its unprecedented tax cuts, put funding for housing and other services at risk. Read more
The Labor Opposition’s election costings released today show its plans to close high-end tax concessions and shelters will raise $13 billion a year by 2022, allowing a Labor Government to invest an extra $11 billion in services, such as dental, child care and cancer treatment, and in public infrastructure. Read more
The Country Women’s Association of Australia today expresses its support for the Raise the Rate campaign to increase Newstart and help people living in rural and regional Australia struggling to find paid work make ends meet. Read more
Following the Treasurer’s National Press Club Debate today, ACOSS is releasing new analysis of the Federal Budget and warning that there is a trade-off between large tax cuts – especially the $300 billion in tax cuts proposed by the Coalition – and sustaining the essential health, education and community services. Read more
The leaders of Councils of Social Service (COSS) around the country have welcomed the ALP announcement of a ten year, $1.5 billion investment in housing in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and pledge to develop a new COAG partnership on remote housing and called on the Liberal Party to provide a similar commitment. Read more
ACOSS is delighted to welcome Labor’s childcare announcements over the weekend, and says Labor’s dental care announcement is a excellent first step to extending Medicare to essential dental services for people on the Age Pension and Senior Concession Card holders, but calls for inclusion of people on Allowances and other Pensions as well. Read more
Nearly three quarters of Australians agree that Newstart should be increased to cover basic living costs and help people search for jobs, shows new polling commissioned by the Australian Council of Social Service. The polling also shows that the majority of the community has concerns about the tax cuts announced in the budget. Read more
Monday April 15: The Australian Council of Social Service today launched its tax reform election policy, calling for serious tax reform, starting with an end to tax loopholes for the wealthy in order to fund investment in our essential services and income support system. Read more
Friday 12 April: The Australian Council of Social Service is today launching its Federal Election 2019 Policy Platform: Community Services, calling on all parties to properly resource community services, and build a policy framework that ensures those services are high quality. Read more
In response to the announcement of the Federal Election for May 18, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has called on both major parties to focus on improving the wellbeing of the community, particularly people who are struggling on lower incomes, so that everyone in Australia can live a fulfilling life. Read more
ACOSS welcomes Labor’s commitment to funding services over high-end tax cuts but people on Newstart again left behind
ACOSS welcomes the Opposition’s commitment tonight to give priority to funding essential services over big tax cuts for people on higher incomes but remains deeply concerned about people on Newstart again being left behind. Read more
Budget 2019: Government turns its back on people who have the least, and guarantees more cuts to essential services
‘’The Government confirms its vision for our country is cuts, tax cuts for people who don’t need them, guaranteeing more cuts in future to essential services and our safety net for people who rely on them,’’ ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said tonight in response to the 2019 Budget…The overall package gives the most dollars to people who already have the most, and offers people on the lowest incomes nothing. Read more
New analysis by ACOSS shows that if speculation about income tax cuts rings true in the budget the biggest winners will be those on high incomes, while there will be little or no benefit for households with the lowest 40% of incomes. In fact, one third of households have incomes too low to pay income tax.*
The Morrison Government’s pre-budget announcement a one-off Energy Assistance Payment — $75 for singles and $125 for couples — excludes people on the lowest incomes, those who are looking for paid work on Newstart. “The Morrison Government is ignoring the people who are doing it the hardest,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said. Read more
Jonathon Hunyor and Cassandra Goldie
Advocacy by independent groups in civil society is vital to a healthy democracy and makes for better government decisions and outcomes. Civil society plays a vital role in ensuring a more diverse range of voices are heard and the interests of those who may otherwise be excluded or marginalised are represented. Read more
Don’t rush to pass more tax cuts while three million live in poverty
As community organisations providing essential services to people on low and modest incomes, we call on the Parliament not to rush to pass more income tax cuts before the elections, and to reverse those already legislated to go to high income-earners after 2020. Read more
Townsville City Council endorses increase to Newstart and ACOSS calls on federal politicians to follow suit
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) congratulates Townsville Council for officially endorsing the ‘Raise the Rate’ campaign, a national campaign, which calls on the Federal Government and Opposition to raise the rate of Newstart. Read more
ACOSS responds to Labor’s living wage policy, calling for it to be partnered with an increase to Newstart
The federal Opposition’s living wage policy, announced today, is a sensible step, which must be partnered with an increase to Newstart in order to effectively reduce poverty and boost the economy. Read more
ACOSS welcomes commitment to overdue reform of Employment Services (jobactive) but warns against over-reliance on automation and digital platforms
The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes the Government’s commitment today to overdue reforms to employment services (Jobactive), but warns there are also risks in what is being proposed.
ACOSS budget submission calls for revenue raising to fund services, including disability services; urges action on Royal Commission
On the release of its budget submission today, the Australian Council of Social Service is urging the federal government to urgently act on calls for a Royal Commission into the abuse suffered by people with disability. ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said: “We’ve heard appalling stories about exploitation, neglect, violence and abuse suffered by people with a disability and the urgent need for a Royal Commission is clear.
The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes the landmark case launched by Victoria Legal Aid in the Federal Court, challenging the disastrous Centrelink automated debt recovery system, Robodebt.
Raising Newstart and Youth Allowance would boost jobs, wages and inject millions into local communities
Regional communities would receive a multi-million dollar boost if government raised the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments through an increase in consumer spending, a new report by Deloitte has found. Read more
ACOSS urges Government not to abandon emissions reductions
Monday August 20: ACOSS today called on the Government to ignore climate sceptics and work with Labor and the States to implement polices to rapidly reduce emissions in the electricity sector and improve electricity affordability.
A majority of people on Newstart are being systematically excluded from paid employment, a new report has found. Read more
The Australian Council of Social Service is today launching its health policy for the upcoming Federal Election, calling on all parties to commit to make our health system fairer and more sustainable, and to tackling poverty and inequality. Read more
National Congress, APO NT, ACOSS, NTCOSS and Human Rights Law Centre respond to Government plan to force cashless debit card across the Northern Territory
National Congress, APO NT, ACOSS, NTCOSS and Human Rights Law Centre condemn the Morrison Government’s announcement today that it will force people in the Northern Territory under income management to use the cashless debit card, saying it will continue discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Read more.
Unlike tax cuts, raising Newstart and the minimum wage will effectively reduce poverty and boost the economy, argues The Australian Council of Social Service’s submission to the Fair Work Commission.
Research by Per Capita shows that 54% of people living in Hobart and 70% of people living in the rest of Tasmania support a $75-per-week increase to Newstart, the payment for people looking for paid work. Read more
ACOSS has today released the report of a survey of 311 people who participated in jobactive employment services around the country. ‘’It is absolutely vital that policy makers put people at the centre of policy design. We must listen to experiences of people using jobactive services and design an employment services system that responds to the needs they identify,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie. Read more: http://bit.ly/2NWzn0U