ACOSS questions to parties: election 2016

Measuring social and economic progress

  1. Will your party develop and adopt a headline national goal to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are fairly shared, for example through a national poverty reduction target?

A balanced approach to budget repair

2. Is your party committed to restoring the Federal Budget to surplus over time? If so:
(a) What is the precise formulation and details of any associated commitments you are making in relation to revenue and expenditure?
(b) Will you make a commitment that low income households (the bottom 40% of the population by income) will not be disproportionately affected (as a share of their income) by measures to restore the Budget?
(c) Will your party commit to restoring the Budget by increasing overall revenue as well as improving the cost effectiveness of expenditure?
(d) Will tax expenditures be subject to the same degree of budget scrutiny as direct expenditures?

Improving the integrity and equity of the tax system

3. Will your party commit to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of income tax? Specifically:
(a) What are your party’s policies to achieve this, including measures to tax incomes more consistently or close inefficient or unfair tax shelters and loopholes?
(b) Specifically, what action would your party take, if elected to:
reduce the anomalies in the tax treatment of  capital gains and other investment income, especially where investments are financed by debt (negative gearing arrangements)?
(c) Curb the avoidance of company income tax by international and Australian companies through international profit, debt and cost shifting strategies?

Towards a fair and sustainable retirement incomes system

4. Is your Party committed to improving the fairness of superannuation and ensuring that the associated tax concessions are fit for purpose? If so:
(a) What action does your party propose to take to reduce the disproportionate share of tax concessions going to individuals with high incomes?
(b) What action does your Party propose to take to curb the use of superannuation tax concessions, especially in the retirement phase, to avoid personal income tax, including Capital Gains Tax and the tax payable on transfers of remaining superannuation balances to adult children?
(c) What other action does your party propose to take to ensure that the future cost of superannuation tax concessions is sustainable, especially in the retirement phase as the population ages?
(d) What action does your Party propose to take to extend tax concessions for contributions to low-income earners who pay tax at less than 15% on their wages?

Improving support for people who are unemployed

5. Is your Party committed to improving the adequacy of income support for people most in need, especially those with little or no private income? If so, what are your Party’s priorities in this area including action to improve the adequacy and indexation of Allowance payments including Newstart Allowance for single people?

6. Is your party committed to reducing unemployment, especially long term unemployment? If so, what are your Party’s key policies to achieve this including:
(a) Personalised employment services with lower caseloads and appropriately skilled staff?
(b) Meaningful and effective programs, especially paid work experience in regular jobs together with relevant training, for people unemployed long term?
(c) What protections does your Party propose to ensure that unemployed people participating in these programs are not exploited and existing employees are not displaced?

7. What is the evidence that any of the above programs you propose are effective in improving the paid employment prospects of people disadvantaged in the labour market?

Reducing child poverty

8. Is your Party committed to reducing child poverty? If so, how would you express this commitment and measure your Party’s progress towards reaching that goal? What specific policies does your Party propose to reduce child poverty, including:
(a)  improvements in the adequacy and indexation of family payments for families on low incomes, particularly single parent families?
(b) policies to ensure that children at greatest risk of poverty have access to quality early education and care and that cost and other barriers to such care are removed?

Access to basic services for all who need them

9.Is your Party committed to a strong role for the Commonwealth in ensuring that everyone who needs it has access to essential health care and quality schooling, regardless of their income and where they live?

10 .If so, is your Party committed to:
(a) Adequate indexation of Commonwealth health grants to States and Territories (please define and explain ‘adequate’ in this context)?
(b) An adequate Commonwealth contribution to State and Territory schools budgets to ensure sufficient resources to guarantee all children access to a quality education based on their needs? Please define and explain ‘adequate’ in this context.

11. What are your party’s policies to ensure access to community services in areas of high need?

Ending the housing crisis

12. Is your Party committed to improving the affordability of housing, especially for people with low incomes? If so, how does your Party propose to measure progress towards the achievement of this goal and what policies does your Party propose, including to:

* Stem excessive growth and instability in housing prices (mortgages and rents) during housing booms?
* Increase the supply of affordable rental housing including through direct investment and investment incentives?
* Improve the adequacy of Rent Assistance payment rates and indexation?

A strong, independent and diverse civil society

13. Is your Party committed to supporting a strong, independent and diverse civil society including by adequately funding peak representative bodies representing marginalised groups and ensuring Government funding is not subject to restrictions on advocacy?

Effective action to address climate change and its impacts on people on low incomes

14. What are your Party’s policies to address climate change and ensure that people on low incomes and people who are vulnerable are protected, and able to adapt to the impacts?

15. Specifically how will you take positive action to:

* Ensure people on low incomes and vulnerable can make the most of energy efficiency technologies and access affordable housing which is energy efficient?
* Ensure people and communities are resilient to the impacts of extreme weather events and able to adapt?


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