ALP Budget reply a promising start but more needed

ACOSS welcomes the ALP commitments on housing and climate but more detail is needed on how they plan to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie, said:

“ACOSS welcomes the $10 billion fund for 20,000 social and 10,000 affordable homes housing policy announced by Federal Labor tonight, as a promising start to addressing homelessness in Australia.

“We also welcome the allocation of funding to meet the housing needs of women and children fleeing domestic violence, and to repair, maintain and improve housing in Indigenous remote communities.

“While this won’t meet the full housing needs of people on low incomes and in housing crisis, the fund would exist in perpetuity, providing a sustainable funding base to give more Australians greater housing options.

“We also welcome Labor’s initiatives to tackle the climate crisis through investment in local renewable energy and create sustainable clean energy jobs,” said Dr Goldie. “However, funding should be prioritised to ensuring people experiencing social and economic disadvantage can access energy efficiency, solar and batteries, to ensure they are not left behind in the energy transition.

We need a large-scale roll out of energy efficiency programs for social and community housing, renters and low-income homeowners to end the unfair energy bills of people on low incomes.

Dr Goldie said, “We welcome the commitment to leave no one behind. However, to reduce structural inequality Labor must commit to raising social security payments above the poverty line, including JobSeeker, which is now a brutal $44 per day. Leaving about 2 million people and 1 million children unable to pay rent, eat three meals, look for a job, is the definition of leaving someone behind.

We also need to provide economic security and dignity for all including migrants, people on temporary visas and asylum seekers.

“We applaud Labor’s commitment to address both poverty and the housing crisis. Tonight we heard one part of that equation. To truly ‘leave no one behind’ Labor needs to deliver on the rest of that commitment.”