Rising poverty in Australia the focus of this week’s ACOSS Annual Conference

The national peak body for community and social services, ACOSS, will use this week’s annual conference to highlight the worsening plight of the most disadvantaged people in Australia.

A number of organisations including ACOSS and independent experts will present new research showing that people can no longer exist on Allowances like Newstart and Sole Parenting Payments, which have fallen $133 per week behind pensions, and are driving many more people into poverty.

“We’ve known for a long time that these Allowances are low – Newstart ($245 per week) hasn’t been increased in real terms since 1994, with people struggling to get into paid work missing out on the $32 pension increase of a few years ago,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, ACOSS.

“There is a growing consensus that this is no longer sustainable – it simply cannot be allowed to continue, especially if we want to avoid greater levels of poverty in our country.”

The Annual ACOSS Conference, ‘Sharing the Wealth of the Lucky Country’, will put community and social issues like this in the spotlight when it kicks off on Thursday in Sydney. It will explore how we are travelling as a nation in meeting the needs of people who experience poverty and inequality.

Australia’s Treasurer Wayne Swan will open the annual event and continue the national conversation about how best to share the opportunities and prosperity of our country to ensure nobody is left behind from Australia’s mining boom.

The conference brings together social, political and media commentators, including Eva Cox, Jennifer Westacott, Annabel Crabb, James valentine, Don Henry, Simon Sheikh, Adam Bandt PM, Minister Mark Butler, Minister Tanya Plibersek, Tim Costello, George Megalogenis, Hon Sussan Ley MP, and many more.

They’ll join other leading experts, political leaders, researchers, and workers in the community sector to dissect a wide range of social policy topics and issues relevant to equality and community service in contemporary Australia.

Topics include:
• How to prevent the disparate impacts of rising living costs
• How to include the excluded in Australia’s job market
• Supporting disability in the next decade
• How to protect our social safety net in an age of uncertainty
• Tackling the challenge of rising housing costs and homelessness
• Healthy lives, healthy communities
• Exploring new frontiers in social service
• Current reforms in the not-for-profit sector
• Young Leaders: New Directions (all youth panel)
• Imagining Australia in 2030 (high profile panel of social, political and media commentators)

To find out more about the conference >>.

See Program Outline>> and Complete Program >>.

Find out more about the ACOSS Allowances campaign: $35 is not enough!

To arrange media interviews call Fernando de Freitas – 0419 626 155

ADVICE TO MEDIA: Journalists and film crews are advised to contact [email protected] by email or telephone to ensure we best facilitate your needs and entry at the venue.

Getting to the venue >> Australian Technology Park in in Sydney.

Speakers include:
• The Hon Wayne Swan | Treasurer
• Jody Broun | Co-chair, The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
• Adam Bandt | Greens MP, Member for Melbourne
• Annabel Crabb | Political Editor, ABC Online
• David Speers | Political Editor, Sky News
• George Megalogenis | Columnist, The Australian
• Jennifer Westacott | CEO, Business Council of Australia
• Eva Cox| Research Fellow, Jumbunna IHL, UTS
• James Valentine | ABC Local Radio Presenter
• Simon Sheikh | National Director, GetUp!
• Don Henry | CEO, Australian Conservation Foundation
• The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP | Minister for Health
• The Hon Sussan Ley MP | Opposition Spokesperson for Employment Participation
• Tim Costello | CEO, World Vision
• Lesley Hall | CEO, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
• Tshibanda Gracia Ngoy | Human Rights Young People’s Medalist 2011