Putting improved social outcomes at the heart of economic policy debates

The Australian Council of Social Service is staging its annual conference in Adelaide next month to kick-start a national conversation about the important social and economic policy issues at the forefront of this year’s election debates.

The ACOSS National Conference is the meeting place of Australia’s community sector, bringing together leading experts, decision makers and people at the front line of social policy and services.

“This year’s theme – ‘Community: The Heart of the economy’ is about making people and communities the focus of national debates about the economy and our collective future.

“We want to ensure that improved social outcomes are at the heart of productivity debates, tax reform and economic policy in Australia, especially in this election year,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“Too often the community is excluded from economic debates amongst ‘experts’, commentators, and decision makers. Our conference will provide a platform to bring the community into the important national conversation.

Key topics for discussion at the conference include:

    How do we guarantee the crucial social services we will need with our aging population?

  • How do we tackle the growing housing affordability crisis?
  • How do we lift productivity to include more people in the benefits of growth?
  • How do we reduce poverty in Australia?
  • What is the future of Australia’s income support payment system and when will we see an increase in the base rate of inadequate allowances like Newstart?
  • How do we deliver key reforms like the National Disability Insurance Scheme and a more equitable basis to school education?
  • How do we strengthen the capacity of the nation’s community sector to deliver vital community services?
  • How do we improve the democratic and public policy processes of the country?

“Ultimately the decisions we make today must be grounded on the best possible evidence of what works and ensure they improve the lives and health of our communities.

“Our conference will dissect how past and current decisions and reforms measure up, and what changes and improvements are needed to ensure enhanced social outcomes.

“This can only be guaranteed if community voices are heard, and are equal partners in the key national forums that guide the decision making process.

“Australia faces some real economic and social challenges that each and every one of us has a stake in. We want to make sure that this conversation is front and centre of federal election debates and beyond,” Dr Goldie concluded.

To arrange interviews contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155

Find out more, including the full conference program.

Register here.

Key Conference Sessions:

Putting Community at the Centre of the National Economy
• Elephant in the room: Australia’s Affordable Housing Crisis
• The Future of Australia’s Retirement Income System
• A New Start or more of the same: the future of allowance payments in Australia
• Assessing community engagement, from frameworks to implementation
• Where is the vulnerable energy consumer in market led reforms?
• Gendered experiences of entrenched poverty
• More Carrots, Less Stick: Empowering Communities to Improve their Own Lives
• Beyond the scope? Extreme weather, climate change and the community sector
• Driving the policy agenda for Election 2013