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ACOSS Calls on Government for Action on Poverty

4 November 2013 at 3:48 pm
Staff Reporter
Welfare peak body ACOSS will be calling on the Coalition Government to develop an anti-poverty plan including a national development goal at its Policy Forum next Tuesday as Parliament sits for the first time.

Staff Reporter | 4 November 2013 at 3:48 pm


ACOSS Calls on Government for Action on Poverty
4 November 2013 at 3:48 pm

Welfare peak body ACOSS will be calling on the Coalition Government to develop an anti-poverty plan including a national development goal at its Policy Forum next Tuesday as Parliament sits for the first time.

At the forum, to be held on November 12 in Sydney,  ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie will present an overview of ACOSS’ initial research in the area of child poverty and in particular the impacts of the erosion of the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) and income support system on rates of child poverty, and implications for children’s human right to development.

Speakers will include Dr Airini, Head of the  School of Critical Studies in Education at The University of Auckland, who will present a keynote address on action and evidence on reducing child poverty in New Zealand.

“It’s fitting that the Forum will take place on the first day of the new Federal Parliament, making a strong call to our elected federal representatives to tackle poverty, especially child poverty, as a national priority," ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.  

“We want to work with the new government and all our elected representatives to grow our economy and reduce poverty for our nation. Why would we not set a specific target – a national development goal – and annual reporting to parliament on progress? What could be a more important ultimate achievement for any Government?

“ACOSS has well-considered proposals on how we can achieve this, including reforming the family payments system to ensure we target assistance to those families that need it the most.

"We’ve proposed replacing the Baby Bonus and the School Kids Bonus with increases in the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit A for preschool and school age children respectively. This is urgently needed.

"We also need to index family payments to movements in average earnings as well as the CPI to make sure that crucial payments to disadvantaged families keep up with community living standards.

“Essentially we want to see an investment in people who are among some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community, to ensure they can more fully participate and give their children the best possible chance in life."

Dr Goldie said the forum  marked the beginning of a determined push by Australia’s community sector to shine the spotlight on one of the "most pressing social issues affecting our nation today". 

"As highlighted by experts and child welfare workers, the rise in the rate of child poverty is a shameful indictment on a country which continues to prosper overall," she said.  

"The forum will highlight that the rate of poverty can be directly linked to changes in our income support system, the rising costs of housing, and the multiple barriers that parents, particularly single parents, face in securing paid work as well as caring for their children, whilst under intensifying financial stress.

“We know that despite two decades of unprecedented growth, where most of us are better off than we’ve ever been, we’ve seriously neglected one of our most fundamental social responsibilities and shared interests – caring for our young and ensuring we give every child the best possible chance in life.

“There’s now a substantial body of research to show that we’ve gone backwards, after making so much ground since the 1980s. The forum will illustrate that growing body of evidence and identify clear action that will help to stem the tide of children who do not have what they need .

“Our forum brings together key players in the sector – child welfare agencies, workers, and experts to map out a collective way forward for our nation on this most important of fronts – the future of all our children."

There will also be a panel discussion with Professor Bettina Cass and Associate Professor Gerry Redmond who will address definitions and measurements of child poverty and showcase current data and trends and will facilitate a discussion with the audience on strategies and actions to address it.

Turning the tide on child poverty in Australia –  ACOSS Policy Forum and AGM will run from 10am-4pm on November 12 at the NAB Building, Level 15, 255 George St, Sydney.

To see the full program, click here.

To register and apply for a spot, contact Events Officer Louise Stanley on

Staff Reporter  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

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