News

Historic JobKeeper scheme delivers huge relief to millions at risk of losing paid work

ACOSS welcomes the passing of the historic JobKeeper payment through Parliament overnight, which follows the long-overdue increase to Newstart (JobSeeker) and Youth Allowance.

“The JobKeeper payment is crucial action taken by Government that will help provide job and income security for millions of paid workers across the country at this extremely difficult time,” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said. Read more

While the battle over tax cuts begins, we are losing the war on poverty

In responding to the Opposition Treasurer’s reply speech to the Federal Budget 2018 yesterday, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, “While the Opposition has adopted important policies to close tax concessions and strengthen revenue, it has now put these gains at risk by joining the Government in a dangerous personal income tax cut war.” Read more

Proposed tax cuts damage the Budget, bypass those in greatest hardship, and undermine essential services

ACOSS responded today to the Government’s Budget, pointing out that more tax cuts are the wrong priority at the wrong time, will not help the majority of people on low incomes, and will deprive governments of the ability to fund essential services and restore the budget. Read more

Proposed tax cuts damage the Budget, bypass those in greatest hardship, and undermine essential services

ACOSS responded today to the Government’s Budget, pointing out that more tax cuts are the wrong priority at the wrong time, will not help the majority of people on low incomes, and will deprive governments of the ability to fund essential services and restore the budget. Read more

Read our latest factsheets:

Taking the ‘human’ out of human services

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “We have seen thousands of jobs cut from Centrelink over several years and now this Federal Government is contracting private companies, including Serco to answer calls. It is wrong that a private, multinational corporation is being contracted, and presumably profit from doing the job of Centrelink.” Read more

Keep working on the National Energy Guarantee

With the COAG Energy Council meeting later this week to consider the National Energy Guarantee, ACOSS has joined the call for further progress to be made towards designing a workable solution which addresses emissions reduction, reliability, and affordability across our energy system. Read more

Voters want governments to make energy efficiency a top priority

As Energy Ministers prepare to meet to discuss the National Energy Guarantee, a YouGov Galaxy survey has shown that ‘investing in energy efficiency’ is the most popular policy that governments can introduce. Read more

We’ll all pay for company tax cuts

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS says “Any economic gains from cutting company taxes are decades away, while the cost of the cuts will be felt immediately, from $1.8 billion in 2019 rising to $14 billion in 2026. Read more

ACOSS submission on the National Energy Guarantee

This submission makes eighteen recommendations to the Energy Security Board, including calling for an independent review to address energy affordability. Read more

Charity Leaders appeal to Senate

“We believe that a company tax cut is a mistake while almost 3 million people live in poverty. It is unconscionable to pursue company tax cuts while refusing to raise the rate of Newstart and other allowances.” Read more

Cuts to support system leave people seeking asylum in destitution

Thousands of people seeking protection while living in the Australian community are at risk of destitution and homelessness due to the latest government move to completely cut income support for people who need it the most. Read more

ACOSS welcomes social security commission bill and single parent review

Two private members bills to reduce poverty and inequality were introduced into Parliament today: a bill to establish a social security commission, which has long been ACOSS policy; and a bill to review the impact of removing Parenting Payment Single from single parents when their youngest child has turned eight. ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie welcomes these private member bills. Read more

Senate must reject cashless debit card legislation

With no credible evidence available showing an improvement in people’s lives, ACOSS calls on the Senate to reject the expansion of the cashless debit card policy listed for debate today. Read more

A case of upside down? Households must not subsidise big corporations under the National Energy Guarantee (NEG)

An alliance of community service organisations is calling on COAG Energy Ministers to ensure people get the full benefit from the National Energy Guarantee by not giving special treatment to big corporations and by ensuring the target setting process supports rapid emissions reduction in the electricity sector to address the current effects of climate change. Read more

116,000 people and counting: Let’s create affordable housing, not more homelessness

During Homelessness Week, ACOSS joins the Everybody’s Home campaign calling on government to develop, as a matter of urgency, a national housing strategy and plan to end homelessness by 2030. Read more

Inequality in Australia 2018

Read our report on Inequality in Australia 2018, launched in partnership with UNSW Sydney on Tuesday July 31, 2018.

Read the supplementary report on income inequality here.

For a quick look at the headlines, check out the factsheet.

Find out more

Read our latest submissions on the National Energy Guarantee:

Mandatory cashless debit must cease following damning report 

ACOSS calls on the Federal Government to cease mandatory cashless debit card trials, including withdrawing its bill to expand cashless debit to parts of Queensland, following a damning report about the trials’ evaluation by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). Read more

ACCC calls for overdue reforms to protect low-income households from energy poverty

ACOSS welcomes ACCC’s recognition that sky rocketing power prices and a dysfunctional energy market has left millions of low income households in energy poverty and contributed to an increase in inequality. Read more

ACOSS commends outgoing Shadow Social Services Minister Jenny Macklin

ACOSS would like to acknowledge retiring Labor MP Jenny Macklin for her long service to the Federal Parliament and the Social Services portfolio. Read more

Australian government admits lack of gender analysis on impact of policy measures including tax and social security cuts

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has questioned recent government attempts which threaten free speech in Australia and its poor track record on women’s rights. Read more

ACOSS warns, if tax cuts are passed for short term gain, people will lose access to essential services in the long term

ACOSS has warned Australian Senators that if they pass the government’s proposed six year $140 billion dollar income tax package while the Budget remains weak, the Senators will be sacrificing funding for essential universal services every person in Australia relies upon, including health, education and social security. Read more

This is the time for cautious, responsible budgeting, not a reckless tax cut auction

On the day the senate committee holds its only hearing to discuss the governments personal income tax legislation, ACOSS is raising serious concerns about both the tax cuts themselves and the way the parliament is dealing with them. Read more

It’s a good news story! The Local Government National Assembly votes in support of an increase to Newstart

Delegates from local councils across Australia supported a motion at their national conference yesterday (19 June) for the federal government to increase the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments as a matter of urgency. Read more

We implore the government to stop the cuts to people seeking asylum

Leaders from ten national NGOs, along with a delegation of people seeking asylum and community members, gathered at Parliament House 18 June 2018 to implore the Australian Government to stop cuts that will lead to a humanitarian crisis in our communities. Read more

Raise the Rate – ACOSS in South Australia

Following polling showing unprecedented support for an increase to Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments, the campaign to Raise the Rate is ramping up by making South Australia its next destination from 12 – 13 June 2018. Read more

ACOSS briefing: company tax cuts

We cannot afford more company or personal tax cuts while the budget remains in deficit. The proposed company tax cuts are too costly for little or no gain. Read more

ACOSS briefing: company tax cuts

We cannot afford more company or personal tax cuts while the budget remains in deficit. The proposed company tax cuts are too costly for little or no gain. Read more

Federal plans to silence advocacy hit a snag

Charity leaders including ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie have united to call on Parliament to drop damaging legislation which threatens charities’ advocacy and our healthy democracy. Help protect Australia’s charities and oppose the Bill by taking action.

The tax cut war and why everyone must pay for essential services, including wealthy shareholders

Labor’s policy on tax refunds for shareholders released on 13 March 2018 is a stark reminder that policies addressing the huge gaps in Australia’s revenue base are necessary.
Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, says that governments’ continued provision of essential health, aged care, NDIS and other services is shaky as long as large gaps in Australia’s revenue base remain. Read more

The drug testing bill must be opposed

This government’s proposed drug testing policy represents an alarming departure from the key aim of our social security system, which is to provide a safety net for people in need. This bill targets people on unemployment payments who are looking for work. There is no evidence that drug testing works. Read our briefing note. 

Committee should oppose the Bill cutting social security for recent migrants

Read our submission on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (encouraging self-sufficiency for newly arrived migrants) Bill 2018.

Abandonment of Medicare Levy increase signals worrying shift from essential services to tax cuts 

ACOSS responded today to the Treasurer’s announcement that it would no longer pursue an increase in the Medicare Levy to help fund the NDIS. ACOSS is disappointed the Government has dropped its Medicare Levy increase to help fund the NDIS,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO. Read more

SDGs provide a framework for an inclusive & equitable future

The SDGs give us opportunities for new conversations, partnerships and actions to help realise such a future. Australia must act locally as well as globally and develop a national implementation plan. Read our submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs Inquiry into the SDGs.

More competition brings significant risks to human services

ACOSS today cautioned that introducing further competition into human services provision carries significant risk, in response to the tabling of the Productivity Commission’s report Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services: Reforms to Human Services. Read more

More than 80,000 people hurt by Welfare ‘Reform’ Bill

On the day after Newstart Allowance increased by just 50 cents, the Senate passed legislation that will make life even tougher for people living below the poverty line. The poorly named Welfare ‘Reform’ Bill went through the senate this morning with few amendments, and is anticipated to go through the House next week. Read more

Lift the incomes of the lowest 40 per cent to meet our international commitments

As a key advocate of meeting Australia’s commitment to reducing poverty and inequality in Australia by 2030, ACOSS is co-hosting the second Australian Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) summit in Melbourne on Tuesday 13 March 2018. Read more

ACOSS submission to the Minimum Wage Review

This submission outlines ACOSS’ recommendations on the minimum wage review process. It recommends that  Fair Work Australia increase real minimum wages substantially so as to reduce the gap between minimum wages and median pay levels. Read more

Homelessness up as housing costs rise and incomes decline

An increase in homelessness in Australia is unfortunately of little surprise when so little has been done to address housing affordability and inadequate incomes. Census data released today shows an increase in homelessness in Australia. With homelessness increasing, the government must address the conditions increasing poverty and inequality in Australia. Read more

Disability Support Pension cuts bad news for people affected

Reports about lower spending on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) hide the increasing number of people on unemployment payments who have a limited capacity to work. These people have little hope of finding full time work, not least because there is only one job available for every eight applicants. Read more

UNSW and ACOSS to tackle poverty and inequality through new collaboration

UNSW Sydney and the Australian Council of Social Service will work to tackle poverty and equality head on through a new collaboration to be launched on Thursday 8 February 2018. The collaboration includes backing from UNSW, various ACOSS member organisations, and philanthropists to the value of $2 million dollars over 5 years. Read more

Five social security bills before Parliament that should be opposed

There are a number of Social Services bills currently before the Parliament,. We have produced a briefing note providing an overview of each bill, and the reasons why they should all be rejected.

Restore community service funding levels and end harsh policies

ACOSS chief executive officer Cassandra Goldie has urged an end to the harsh policies that are hurting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This includes income management and the community development program. More. Read recommendations in our pre-budget submission

Non-energy market solutions for low income households

Policy makers need to increase their focus on non-energy market solutions for low-income and disadvantage households, says ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie. Read more

Foreign Donations bill goes too far

If passed, ACOSS believes this bill will have a chilling effect on the voices of charities and not-for-profits, and negatively impact  the fabric of our democracy.
Read our briefing note
Join ‘Hands off our charities’ today

Cashless Debit Card should not be extended

Check out our new fact sheet on the cashless debit card trials, and why they should not be extended.

Tax cuts a mistake while service funding shortfalls remain, and unemployment payment too low

ACOSS has cautioned the Federal Budget must continue to strengthen public revenue to secure vital community services and supports into the future, rather than squander billions on unjustified tax cuts. CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, “It would be a big mistake for this government to press ahead with personal and corporate tax cuts when we’re facing major funding shortfalls in vital areas such as the NDIS, health, needs-based schools funding, and action to reduce poverty.” Read more

New incubator of social movements

Australian Progress and the Australian Council for Social Service (ACOSS) are launching Progress Labs, a new accelerator program designed to support leaders and social movements that engage Australians in positive action. Read more

ACOSS joins The Big Issue sell

Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, took part in The Big Issue’s CEO selling campaign this week. Cassandra sold a large number of copies in Redfern NSW to passers by with Big Issue vendor Lionel, shining a light on homeless and disadvantaged vendors working hard to change their lives.