ACOSS has today welcomed the BCA call for long term policy and planning, and the clear recognition of the role of the community sector working with business in the interests of strong economic as well as social policy in Australia.
Speaking from the National Press Club in Canberra following the speech by Business Council of Australia President Tony Shepherd, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “We welcome the BCA’s recognition of the importance of the compact between government, the non-government sector and business, alongside the wider community, to support social and economic progress.
“Equally important is the recognition that we need to do more as a country to ensure the benefits of that social progress are felt by all. With 2.2 million people, including 1 in 6 children living below the poverty line, we are particularly pleased to hear the strong statement from Mr Shepherd that income support allowances need to ensure people without paid work are able to ‘live in dignity’. We also agree that we need ‘employment services that get them back to work quickly so they don’t fall into long-term, entrenched unemployment’.
“It is critical that we ensure the revenue base to support these objectives, and a fair, sustainable tax base must be the first order for this priority. For this reason we have viewed the Henry Tax review as the best blueprint and have consistently called for many of the recommendations to be acted on.
“We share many of the objectives outlined today, including the call for a long-term plan on population and urban and regional infrastructure, ‘that fully integrate land use, transport, social infrastructure and access to natural resources’.
“We also want to see improved gender representation in senior leadership and Board roles, an issue ACOSS has been working to address in the community sector. Similarly, we are working towards appropriate and effective regulation to ensure accountability for our activities and that they are effective in supporting the communities who rely upon them.
‘We agree that we must commit with courage to having the key debates, however difficult, so that we can progress our efforts to lift our social and economic outcomes. whilst we don’t agree with all of the proposals outlined today in their entirety, ACOSS is firmly committed to building a strong relationship with the business community to form a consensus on important issues in the national interest.
“ACOSS has long worked to ensure that our social policy agenda is accompanied by the economic policies and strong, sustainable tax base to sustain them. Our work with the business community is an important part of this agenda and we look forward to continuing this work, including through our alliance with the BCA and ACTU to support improved employment prospects in the longer term,” Dr Goldie said.
Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155
Joint Statement on ACOSS, ACTU and BCA Cooperation – 3 December 2012
Download the joint statement: Opportunity for All [PDF]