MEDIA ALERT: Social security is a hand up, not a hand out

Who: Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of Australian Council of Social Service
When: Friday 26 May 2017
Time: 2.15 pm
Where: Doorstop outside the Hilton Hotel, 488 George Street, Sydney

Dr Cassandra Goldie will be available to answer questions following her attendance at a post-Budget social security briefing delivered by The Hon Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Human Services.

In addition to responding to key issues highlighted in the briefing, Dr Goldie will debunk the myth that Australia’s welfare bill is blowing out. While spending on age pensions has increased and remains the largest area of social security expenditure, Australian spending on ‘working age’ income support is in fact trending downwards and is expected to decline as a proportion of GDP, putting more people below the poverty line.

Dr Goldie will explain that the government’s proposal for a demerit system will put people who are unemployed, including parents, people with a disability, older people and youth, under enormous unnecessary stress and shame, and at greater risk of being without income.

The Government plans to save $200 million a year by cutting more people off income support more often, not by getting more people into paid work. Australia already has one of the more onerous social security compliance systems in the OECD.

The real problem is a lack of jobs with long term unemployment having tripled since the Global Financial Crisis and more than 3 million people already living in poverty, including over 730,000 children.

Dr Goldie will condemn the resurfacing of two of the harshest ‘zombie’ bills from the 2014 Budget, including cutting the energy supplement and increasing the Age Pension to 70 whilst doing nothing to improve the adequacy of the Newstart Allowance (now called Jobseeker Payment). Proposals such as these have repeatedly been rejected by Federal Parliament and badly hurt people on the lowest incomes in Australia.

For fact checking, please see two current ACOSS documents which provide an accurate overview of Australia’s social security system, and an analysis of social security changes in the Federal Budget 2017:

Contact:  Australian Council of Social Service 0419 626 155