Australia’s peak community welfare body, ACOSS has welcomed the introduction of the Clean Energy Future legislation into parliament as a historic opportunity to tackle the problem of climate change and build a cleaner future whilst ensuring low income households are adequately looked after.
“We congratulate the Federal Government, the Greens, and Independents for reaching agreement in the drafting of this legislation and we urge all parties to ensure its passage through parliament so we can move on with the necessary task of transforming our economy,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
“ACOSS has long accepted the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change will affect us all, and are motivated by the stark reality that people who live in vulnerable situations and on low incomes will be affected first and worst.
“This is the reason we have argued that effective and equitable action is vital to reduce carbon pollution and we are keen to work with all parties to help build a community consensus around the solutions.
“ACOSS is satisfied that the householder assistance package will provide people on low incomes with sufficient compensation to cover the anticipated modest increases in costs flowing to consumers. The Government has committed to maintain the value of payments through regular indexation and a review.
“We do have some concerns about the equity of assistance for those on the lowest income support payments (sole parents, Newstart Allowance and students) initially and over time, and will closely monitor the detail of legislation and implementation. ACOSS is also concerned that the package does not explicitly recognise or address the likely impacts of a carbon price on the capacity of community sector organisations to deliver essential services. These cost impacts must be properly quantified and recognised in funding arrangements.
“The community sector looks forward to working with Government and all political parties in ensuring the implementation of this important package is done in a timely, fair, equitable manner,” Dr Goldie said.
Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas, ACOSS – 0419 626 155
ACOSS Position paper:
The Clean Energy Future package, households on low incomes and the community services sector – August 2011