It was a privilege this year to be appointed President of ACOSS. I am grateful for the exceptional leadership and strong governance shown by the Board of Directors and by the talent and commitment shown by the ACOSS executive team and staff.
This is reflected in the tangible results ACOSS has achieved over the past year. Our work has made a meaningful difference in the lives of people affected by poverty and disadvantage and has helped shape government policies that will reduce inequality.
However, too many people in Australia continue to be affected by poverty and disadvantage. Research by ACOSS shows that people on income support are regularly skipping meals, going without heating and cooling, forgoing essential medication and medical care, and experiencing social isolation.
ACOSS is committed to its goals of reducing poverty and inequality. Our new Five-Year Impact Strategy reinforces our role to advocate for people impacted by poverty and disadvantage, ensures those on low incomes are involved in policy debate and the decisions that affect them, and pushes for fair and inclusive action on climate change. We maintain our commitment to achieving justice and self-determination for First Nations peoples, and to the development of a fairer tax system that adequately funds community services and social safety nets to ensure that no one is left behind.
I look forward to working with the ACOSS Board, team and members over the years ahead to progress our goal of an Australia that is free of poverty, fair and inclusive for all.