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ACOSS Daily Bulletin

Tuesday 15th December 2020


Social Affairs

Homeless rate to spike in 2021 as JobSeeker cuts force thousands beneath the poverty line

Evin Priest, News Corp, Tuesday 15th December 2020

Australia’s homeless rate will surge by 9 per cent next year when cuts to the JobSeeker payment’s coronavirus supplement heap more misery on those living below the poverty line, a new report predicts. On January 1, the coronavirus supplement for JobSeeker – which rose to $550 a fortnight during the pandemic – will be slashed from $250 to $150. During the three-month period after New Year’s Day, a single person with no children will be paid $357.85 a week. The supplement will then scrapped altogether on March 31, leaving a single person with no children on $282.5 a week – or $40 a day. The Australian Council of Social Service defines the national poverty line as $457 a week for a single adult.


Cheaper housing under threat from return to pre-Covid migration levels – report

Paul Karp, The Guardian, Tuesday 15th December 2020

A temporary improvement in housing affordability could evaporate if Covid-19 vaccines allow resumption of normal migration levels, Australia’s peak housing body has warned. In its first major report, released on Tuesday, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) has projected new housing supply will exceed demand for two years before a demand rebound in 2023. In total, demand for housing will fall by 286,000 dwellings between 2020 and 2025, with the biggest savings from less competition expected for renters in Sydney and Melbourne and those looking to buy apartments.


Homelessness and housing stress to rise steeply in 2021, says report (Requires subscription)

Stephen Lunn, The Guardian, Tuesday 15th December 2020

Homelessness is set to surge 9 per cent and 24 per cent more Australian families are predicted to experience housing stress in 2021 because of COVID-19. NSW will be particularly hard hit because of a higher proportion of households needing two incomes to cover mortgages or rent, an Equity Economics study has revealed. Housing stress is projected to rise by 42 per cent next year in NSW, and homelessness by 19 per cent. The study, commissioned by homelessness advocacy group Everybody’s Home, says a $7bn federal government investment in social housing could create 30,000 social housing units and boost the national economy by $18bn annually over the next four years while creating 18,000 jobs each year. “An additional 30,000 social housing units would reduce the number of Australians experiencing homelessness by around 4500 per year and save $135m in direct support costs,” it says.


Reforms a gift for nation’s charities (Requires subscription)

Geoff Chambers, The Guardian, Monday 14th December 2020

Josh Frydenberg has struck a deal with state and territory treasurers to roll out major reform across the charities sector, cutting red tape for thousands of not-for-profits and removing strict financial reporting rules for more than 5000 charities. With more than 57,000 registered charities contributing 8 per cent of the nation’s GDP and employing 1.3 million workers, the shake-up comes as more organisations move to online fundraising and operate across state borders. Under the changes ratified by the Council on Federal Financial Relations, considered the “most significant” reform in decades, charities will no longer be required to obtain fundraising authorisation across multiple jurisdictions.


Our research shows more Australians receive unemployment payments than you think

Peter Whiteford, Ashton De Silva, Dina Bowman, Marcus Banks and Zsuzsanna Csereklyei, The Conversation, Tuesday 15th December 2020

Australians receiving unemployment payments are often negatively portrayed as a relatively small group of people with personal or behavioural problems that stop them from getting a job.
The unparalleled growth in unemployment during COVID-19 has opened up significant space to challenge long-held perceptions of “them and us” when it comes to welfare.  Nevertheless, extra support to Australia’s unemployed has already been substantially wound back — with plans to do so again by the end of the year. Our new study, by a team at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, RMIT University and the Australian National University, highlights significant misunderstandings about the scale and scope of Australians who received Newstart — the unemployment payment replaced by JobsSeeker Payment earlier this year.



'Generations to recover': State finances face decades-long COVID hit

Shane Wright, The Guardian, Monday 14th December 2020

Some Australian state budgets could take generations to recover from the pandemic recession, with warnings the plans of state and territory governments to rebuild their economies through record spending on infrastructure are likely to falter. Amid predictions the Reserve Bank will pump at least another $100 billion into the economy by extending its quantitative easing program, ratings agency S&P Global said for many taxpayers the cost of the recession and their government's response to it will be an ever-present legacy.


Climate and Energy

Off-grid dream becomes reality as bushfire threat creates new era for power networks

Amy Bainbridge and Lucy Kent, ABC News, Tuesday 15th December 2020

In the days after last summer's bushfires, Srisa Heffernan trampled around her mother's farm to see if she could find anything that hadn't been incinerated in the ferocious blaze. In a cruel blow, Srisa had just finished renovating a small cottage she'd planned to call home, only a stone's throw from her mother's house on the 150-acre property at Eurobodalla, in south-east New South Wales. Both the cottage and her mother's home were destroyed.


Holiday hopes ebb as storm lashes east coast (Requires subscription)

Jamie Walker, The Australian, Tuesday 15th December 2020

Bit by bit they’re watching the hope of a bumper Christmas wash away in the foaming swells breaking on Main Beach, Byron Bay, and all the way north to Queensland’s Gold Coast. The beaches should be humming on the eve of high season, packed with holiday-makers enjoying the sun and the sand, the restaurants and pumping bars. Nowhere more than Byron Bay — playground of the rich and famous on the NSW north coast, more popular than ever as a getaway for Sydneysiders this year after travel interstate or overseas was nixed by COVID-19.


Australia's electric car strategy only doing 'the bare minimum', expert says of leaked draft

Melissa Clarke, ABC News, Tuesday 15th December 2020

Would more charging stations or being able to use your car battery to power your home make you more likely to buy an electric car?  The Federal Government hopes so, with both options included in a discussion paper due to be released soon. The strategy to support electric vehicle take-up is long overdue, but the ABC has obtained a draft of the document. However, its contents have raised concerns about what has been left out, rather than what is included.



Labor warns government's planned IR changes will harm people's living standards

Rob Harris, SMH, Monday 14th December 2020

Emerging Labor frontbencher Clare O'Neil has warned the federal government's industrial relations changes will entrench a declining standard of living that has been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. Ms O'Neil, the opposition spokeswoman for the future of work, will on Tuesday urge her party to start listening to the kitchen table conversations of average Australian families who have seen their standard of living rapidly decline over the past eight years. The Melbourne MP will warn that many families can already see the problems of financial security that defined their lives during COVID-19 are likely to grow worse next year.


Support grows to dump controversial IR provision (Requires subscription)

Phillip Coorey, AFR, Monday 14th December 2020

Liberal MPs at both ends of the industrial relations spectrum believe the government should dump a provision enabling distressed employers to apply for a two-year enterprise agreement that does not comply with the Better Off Overall Test. The view, expressed by those who are passionate about IR reforms and those who are not, came as sources confirmed the window for change will be closed in three months as there is no appetite inside the government for a prolonged debate leading up to the next election.


Essential poll: two-thirds of Australians think Canberra is victim in trade war with Beijing

Katharine Murphy, The Guardian, Tuesday 15th December 2020

Almost half of the respondents in the Guardian Essential poll think Australia needs to back away from its close relationship with China, and a majority thinks Canberra is an innocent victim of trade sanctions from Beijing, rather than inviting aggression. In the final Guardian Essential poll for 2020, 49% of the sample of 1,071 respondents thinks Australia needs to become less close to China after months of escalating rhetorical and economic disputation, and 62% believe Australia is a victim in the trade war rather than making itself a target by the government publicly criticising the Chinese regime (38%).



Australia wants international students to study here, but abandoned them during the Covid crisis

Diana Olmos, The Guardian, Monday 14th December 2020

The year 2020 has derailed everyone’s plans. The pandemic has shut down the country and whole industries, and cost millions of people their jobs. But since the crisis began, the federal government has refused to extend any kind of assistance to the huge number of people who are here on temporary visas. They do not have the safety net of jobkeeper, jobseeker or the coronavirus supplement. I immigrated from Colombia to Australia six years ago. My cousins and my sister arrived first, and are now Australian citizens. Like many people who immigrate with temporary visas, we were encouraged to come here to study, and spent a lot of money to do it. I now have my master’s degree, and we have all worked here and paid taxes. Just like many other migrants, we call Australia home.


Live and let live – and let us die how we damn well choose

Peter Fitzsimmons, The Guardian, Sunday 13th December 2020

The NSW Independent MP Alex Greenwich is, as we speak, drawing up plans for voluntary euthanasia legislation, which – if passed – will see NSW arrive in the 21st century, joining other states around the country in legalising assisted dying for terminally ill patients. It will be supported by such admirable groups as Dying With Dignity NSW, politicians across the various parties and – to judge by polls on the subject – about 85 per cent of the public. It would mean terminally ill patients, who are medically judged to have less than six months to live, could choose to die at a time of their choosing, rather than at the agonising end of nature’s ravages. Great.


The ACOSS Daily Bulletin is a wrap of relevant media articles and opinion pieces. 

It also includes a list of relevant reports, research, inquiries and consultations.

Inclusion of items in the Bulletin should not be seen as an endorsement by ACOSS of views expressed. 






Blue Harvest Wage theft & other labour infringements in the NSW Mid-North Coast’s 2019/20 Berry Harvest

The McKell Institute

November 2020


COVID the great disruptor - Another blow to youth employment

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence

December 2020


The Australian Reconciliation Barometer

Reconciliation Australian

December 2020


2020 Rental Affordability Index

National Shelter

December 2020


Commissioned Research: Evidence checks commissioned by the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce

Suicide Prevention Australia AHURI

November 2020


Poverty and a reduced Coronavirus Supplement

The Australian Institute

18 November 2020


Youth Survey Reports

Mission Australia

November 2020


A national survey of the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ people in Australia

La Trobe University



Rating Australia

Parliament of Australia



Gender wage gap statistics: a quick guide

Parliament of Australia

16 November 2020


First-of-its-kind report shines light on experiences of women in Australian prisons


17 November 2020


Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey


November 2020


Mental health: Productivity Commission inquiry report


16 November 2020


Educational Opportunity in Australia 2020

Mitchell Institute and Victoria University

October 2020


Digital Technology in the Not-for-Profit Sector How does your not-for-profit compare?

Infoxchange, Connecting Up and TechSoup

October 2020


Anglicare Australia Jobs Availability Snapshot

Anglicare Australia

14 October 2020


Foodbank Hunger Report 2020 – Food Insecurity in the time of COVID-19


October 2020


National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Report: Youth Survey 2019

Mission Australia

24 September 2020


The impact of COVID-19 on JobSeeker Payment recipient numbers by electorate

Parliament of Australia

8 September 2020


Australia's Community Sector and Covid-19 - Supporting Communities through the crisis. An Australian Community Sector Survey Special Report

ACOSS, The Social Policy Research Centre UNSW and Community Sector Banking

September 2020


Estimating the economic impacts of lowering current levels of income support payments

ACOSS and Deloitte Access Economics

September 2020


Survey of more than 600 people receiving the new rate of JobSeeker or related income support payments


11 September 2020


Inequality in Australia 2020: Part 1, Overview


September 2020


Inequality in Australia 2020: Part 1, Overview. Supplementary Report - The impact of COVID-19 on income inequality


September 2020




Centrelink's compliance program

Parliament of Australia

November 2020


Aged Care Amendment (Aged Care Recipient Classification) Bill 2020

Parliament of Australia

23 November 2020


Health Insurance Amendment (Compliance Administration) Bill 2020

Parliament of Australia

23 November 2020


Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 1) Bill 2020 and Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 2) Bill 2020

Parliament of Australia

19 November 2020


Media diversity in Australia

Parliament of Australia

November 2020


Nationhood, national identity and democracy

Parliament of Australia

9 September 2020


Centrelink's compliance program

Parliament of Australia

Reporting date has been extended to 2 December 2020


Native Title Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 [Provisions]

Parliament of Australia

Submissions deadline 28 November 2020


Independent review of the EPBC Act

Department of Agriculture, Water and  the Environment

Final Report October 2020


Skills and Workforce Development Agreement

Australian Government - Productivity Commission

November 2020


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