National Councils of Social Service urge Senate to vote down 4 week wait period for income support

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Tuesday 11 August 2015

Meeting in Darwin today, the nation’s peak community sector bodies issued a joint call for the Australian Senate to vote down the harsh Federal Government proposal to withhold income support from young people and some single parents.

The heads of ACOSS and state and territory Councils of Social Service said:

“We call on Senators to reject these changes which will only cause greater financial distress and an additional barrier for people to get back into paid work.

“With just one job available for every five people looking for paid work, the focus should be on addressing the lack of job opportunities, which is the key driver of rising unemployment, especially long term unemployment.

“What we need is a national jobs plan for our nation – one that goes to address the structural problem of shrinking job opportunities around the country.

“We know that people who are unemployed long term often face additional barriers to getting a job, including lack of recent work experience, a mismatch of skills with jobs available, and real challenges in sustaining hope in the face of repeated rejections of about 10 job applications a fortnight.

“People still have housing, transport, food and utility costs during this 4 week period. Lack of income support forces many people to seek financial support from community emergency assistance services, already overstretched and dealing with cuts from the Department of Social Services.

“What is required is targeted investment in adequate supports for people locked out of the labour market, not depriving people of income support at the time they need it most.”

Australian Council of Social Service
ACT Council of Social Service
Qld Council of Social Service
NSW Council of Social Service
NT Council of Social Service
SA Council of Social Service
Tas Council of Social Service
Vic Council of Social Service
WA Council of Social Service

For Media Interviews with spokespeople:
Ross Womersley, Executive Director, SACOSS and Kym Goodes, CEO, TasCOSS, call:
Fernando de Freitas (ACOSS) – 0419 626 155