7 September 2010

ACOSS has welcomed the formation of the new Australian Government established with the support of three Independents and the Australian Greens as a unique opportunity to deliver fairer and more equitable outcomes for people around the country.

“From the beginning of the Federal Election, we urged a stronger focus on how policy commitments would deliver greater equality for everyone, particularly those who are living on the edges and in poverty. We were concerned that there was not enough attention given to support for people struggling to make ends meet, including in regional Australia,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

During the Federal Election, ACOSS urged that the major parties give better attention to key concerns of constituents. These include affordable housing; homelessness; rising costs of living; long-term unemployment; adequate financial support for people not able to be in paid work, including parents and young people; timely access to dental care and other health services.

“The make up of the new Australian Parliament provides real hope of a better focus on genuine debate, and responsible policy which delivers fairness and greater equality for all. The negotiations leading to formation of the new Government have reasserted the principle of equity and improving the lives of all people in our country as the crucial lens through which policy and funding decisions should be made.”

“Living in regional or remote communities should not be a barrier to accessing the services and programs available to other Australians. These are concerns shared with other around the country. Too many people in Australia are currently barred from accessing health and other services, from attaining education or employment, from living in secure and affordable housing, and from participating wholly in our nation.”

“A Parliament where policy issues are properly considered, where evidence is required before support is given to change, with greater accountability, and where the voices of elected representatives of communities across the country, including regional and remote Australia, are given appropriate weight provides real opportunity,” Dr Goldie said. “The role of community services in ensuring these outcomes is absolutely critical and we look forward to working with the new Government to ensure that those services are able to provide that support effectively and sustainably around the country.”

“It is the opportunity to move to a system of social and economic reform which delivers greater equality for all, ensuring that people on low incomes and facing disadvantage can also access essential services like health, obtain an education and secure housing and participate wholly in our nation. We have a chance at a Parliament that will lay the foundations for our future.”

Media Contact: Tessa Boyd-Caine, ACOSS – 0419 626 155