Challenges in providing equitable access to health in Australia

2:30PM – 3:30PM AEST | 24 August

Free webinar | REGISTER

As the COVID-19 Pandemic has powerfully demonstrated, there is a direct link between people’s income and their health, with people on lower incomes typically having poorer health outcomes than people with higher incomes. Health inequity is a prevalent issue in Australia, with many challenges due to low incomes and socio-economic disadvantage and barriers to access to health services.

Building on the findings from the ACOSS and UNSW joint report, Work, income and health inequity: A snapshot of the evidence, this webinar will explore:

  • What exactly does the data show about the relationship between health and socio-economic circumstance?
  • How could we improve the data in order to increase equitable access to health?
  • How can the policy choices we make now help improve the health outcomes for the most disadvantaged in Australia?
  • Importantly, how are the choices we are making now about COVID-19 impacting health outcomes for those with the least during this pandemic?

Our guest speakers:

  • Nicole Bartholomeusz, CEO of cohealth
  • Professor Evelyne de Leeuw, Director, Centre for Health Equity Training, Research & Evaluation (CHETRE)
  • Erin Miller, Manager Priority Populations and Places, Sydney Local Health District, NSW Health
  • Nicole Kilby, Policy Officer, National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners
  • Host: Dr Norman Swan, Host of RN’s Health Report, co-host of Coronacast & commentator on ABC TV’s 7.30

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Living in Lockdown – Virtual Event

Free webinar | REGISTER

Since the beginning of the lockdown in the Greater Sydney area, community service organisations have reported a huge surge in demand and financial distress among people desperate for support. And while the Federal Government has extended support to some through the Covid Disaster Payment, most people struggling to get by on income support have been excluded. This is despite all of them being restricted from trying to find paid work due to the lockdown.

Community organisations are doing all they can to help, but we urgently need to fix income support arrangements so people on the lowest incomes are not trapped in poverty.

Join the ACOSS, NCOSS and City of Sydney to discuss the impact of lockdowns on people on the lowest incomes. The discussion will feature speakers from local community service organisations, as well as people excluded from the Federal Government’s Covid Disaster Payments, and struggling to get by on the $44 a day JobSeeker rate.


  • Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service (Co-Convenor) MC
  • Ms Joanna Quilty, CEO, NSW Council of Social Service
  • Ms Monica Barone, CEO, City of Sydney


  • Uncle Allan Murray, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council – Welcome to Country
  • Ms Katherine McKernan, CEO, Homelessness NSW
  • Ms Ashlee Donohue, Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women’s Centre
  • Ms Frances Rush OAM, CEO, Asylum Seekers’ Centre
  • Michael Shreenan, Executive Officer, Counterpoint Community Services

We are committed to providing accessible and inclusive events. Live captioning services will be provided for this event. If you have any access or communication needs, please contact 0418 479 243 and we will be happy to discuss your needs.

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Insights on Newly Arrived Refugees: Women and Digital Inclusion

ACOSS together with Settlement Services International (SSI) present:


Join ACOSS and Settlement Services International (SSI) for this important discussion exploring insights on newly arrived refugees, focusing on women and digital inclusion. The webinar event will feature an expert panel discussion moderated by Omar Dehen, award-winning journalist for SBS World News.

  • Hear the perspectives of refugees themselves and their everyday experiences of welcome, participation and belonging.
  • Hear about the research findings on refugee women and digital inclusion among new arrivals.
  • Hear new data that was collected as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted communities in Australia and around the world, when digital technologies became even more important in daily life, work and study.
  • Learn of actions that governments, policymakers, service providers and civil society can pursue to strengthen their contribution to settlement and integration.
  • You will also have an opportunity to ask our panelists questions during the Q&A.

The discussion will be preceded by a presentation of the research findings from the Foundations for Belonging 2021 report, which aims to deepen understanding of the social and civic dimensions of integration in the early stages of settlement. We will be joined by two of the research co-authors Tadgh McMahon, SSI Research and Policy Manager, and Shanthi Robertson, Western Sydney University Senior Research Fellow.

Our guest speakers:

  • Shanthi Robertson, Western Sydney University Senior Research Fellow (research co-author)
  • Alison Larkins, Department of Home Affairs, Commonwealth Coordinator-General for Migrant Services
  • Shabnam Safa, Chair, National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG)
  • Host: Omar Dehen, award-winning journalist for SBS World News

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Webinar: What’s happening in Mutual Obligations and employment services?

People receiving income support say that navigating the government’s Mutual Obligation requirements system can be frustrating and stressful. There is also a long-held concern that these requirements are unfair and that they do not help people get suitable, secure paid work.

Join us at an interactive webinar with ACOSS’s Senior Policy Advisor Simone Casey who will talk about current requirement policies, with a Q&A session facilitated by ACOSS Community Organiser and Engagement Officer, Michelle Shackleton. There will be opportunities to share your experiences with current job search requirements, both in an out of lockdown, and tell us how payment suspensions have impacted you, which will inform an upcoming ACOSS report about the jobactive system.

We’ll outline next steps in our advocacy for fairer employment services social policy and we hope it will be the start of an ongoing community conversation about employment services into the future.

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Community Sector Climate Change Advocacy Week

Rapidly worsening climate change is hurting our communities. Our sector has been on the frontline of helping communities respond to the impacts of more intense and frequent bushfires, drought, floods, storms, and heatwaves. Without fast, fair and inclusive action on climate change, these threats will continue to worsen.

In November this year, all Governments will be required to submit their climate pollution reduction targets at the United Nations Climate Summit. Australia’s current targets are inadequate. Join us for Community Sector Climate Change Advocacy Week 4-8 October in calling on the Australian federal government to commit to stronger targets and fair and inclusive policies to cut climate pollution this decade.

There are three things you can do:

  1. Sign the Community Sector Climate Change Declaration to show decision-makers that a fast, fair and inclusive plan to address climate change this decade matters to the community sector and the communities we work with. The Declaration will be delivered to Federal decision-makers in Advocacy Week.
  2. Share a statement on why fast, fair and inclusive climate action matters to your community organisation.
  3. Join the chorus of community sector voices in a social media Day of Action on 7th of October to share your support for the Declaration and call for #FairFastClimateAction. Find social media tiles and a messaging guide in the social media kit for the Day of Action.

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Community Sector Climate Change Day of Action

Join us on 7 October for a social media day of action, where we are encouraging community sector organisations and staff to post about why fair and fast climate action this decade matters to them. By raising our voices together, we can persuade the Federal government to set more ambitious targets in the lead-up to the UN Climate Summit in November and take fair and inclusive action on climate change.

Click here to access the social media toolkit for resources to help support on the day!


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Australian Social Policy Conference

The 2021 Australian Social Policy Conference will be held online from Monday 25 October to Friday 5 November. 

There will be no registration fee and registrations are now open via Eventbrite

The conference is hosted by the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre, with session convenors from across Australia.

Conference sessions will address contemporary issues in the context of ongoing social policy themes, including:  

  • Poverty, welfare and social inequality 
  • Communities, families and children 
  • Digital technologies and social policy 
  • Disability and rights 
  • Human services 
  • Ageing 
  • Housing and locational disadvantage
  • Health and social policy 
  • First Nations
  • Chinese social policy

ACOSS appearances will be made by Dr Simone Casey on Monday 25 October, and by Dr Peter Davidson on Thursday 4 November.

See full program, linked here.

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ACOSS Policy Webinar Series: Reducing long-term unemployment

For years, Australian governments have under-invested in impactful employment services, and instead have over-invested in compliance systems and penalties affecting people on unemployment payments. We know recessions cast long shadows, and it will be hard to reduce unemployment much further when over 800,000 people (three quarters of those on unemployment payments) are unemployed long-term*.

Once people have been unemployed for a long time, it’s harder to break back into paid work. As well as having a gap in their resume, many people on unemployment payments face barriers to employment such as discrimination on the basis of age or race, caring roles, or living in a region with high unemployment.

This webinar will explore:

  • New research and data on long-term unemployment, its causes, and who is affected
  • What the federal government can do to reduce it, starting with ‘’full employment’’ policies to generate jobs, and including employment programs that give people a better chance of picking up the jobs available

Join us as we discuss key findings of ACOSS’s Faces of Unemployment 2021 report, which provides a snapshot of people on unemployment payments and the jobs and employment services available to them. This report focuses on long-term unemployment.

We will hear from people directly impacted, research partners, and experts on policies to strengthen employment and the government’s ‘’New Employment Services’’ due to start next year.

Speakers include (more to be announced in the coming weeks):

  • Sandra Elhelw Wright, Chief Executive Officer, Settlement Council of Australia
  • A presentation from Dr Peter Davidson, Principal Advisor, ACOSS



*Over 12 months – measured in terms of long-term receipt of unemployment payment

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Australian Social Policy Conference Session – UNSW/ACOSS Poverty and Inequality Partnership presents: Poverty and inequality in the Covid crisis

Register for free here

Date: Thursday 4 November

Time: 02.00PM–04.00PM

Chair: Dr Yuvisthi Naidoo, UNSW Social Policy Research Centre  

Session overview

The Covid crisis has been associated with dramatic changes to the incomes of Australian families. In 2020, lockdowns led to job losses, while household incomes were supported by wage subsidies and income support supplements. In 2021, these supports have been significantly reduced. In this session, we look at different aspects of the impact of the crisis on family incomes, in the context of both longer-term trends and international comparisons.


The Covid impact on the Australian labour market 
Bjorn Jarvis, ABS

Income support and poverty from the turn of the century to the Covid crisis
A/Prof Bruce Bradbury, UNSW Social Policy Research Centre

COVID Jobseeker and Jobkeeper impacts on poverty under current and alternative policy scenarios
A/Prof Ben Phillips, Australian National University (ANU)

Income support during the Covid crisis: International perspectives
Prof Peter Whiteford, Australian National University (ANU)

‘In this together, recovering unequally’: Income inequality in the pandemic 
Dr Peter Davidson, ACOSS & UNSW Social Policy Research Centre

Charmaine Crowe, ACOSS



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