State budgets, a social housing construction blitz, and 16 days to end gender-based violence
18 November 2020 at 4:23 pm
All the latest news from the Councils of Social Service of Australia.
ACOSS pays tribute to the determination of all who campaigned and challenged their unlawful debts via the class action resulting in a $1.2 billion settlement. ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “We now need an independent, arms-length inquiry to establish accountability for this extraordinary abuse of government power inflicted upon hundreds of thousands of people around Australia.” ACOSS senior advisor on social security Charmaine Crowe said: “We repeat our longstanding call for the government to work with us and other experts in social security, including people affected, to establish a fair and humane system for debt recovery.”
Victoria will embark on a social housing construction blitz that has been unseen in generations and will stimulate the economy at a time of great need, according to VCOSS. The Victorian government announced a $5.3 billion social housing package that will create 12,000 new homes over the next four years. This investment will see fewer people “cold, hungry and homeless, and more people in work. It’s that simple,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said. VCOSS is also hosting its 2020 Treasurer’s Breakfast on 26 November.
Ahead of the 16 Days to End Gender-Based Violence campaign, WACOSS as part of the 100 Families WA project, has launched another video in the Speaking From Experience series. Renna and Keria, who are on the project’s community advisory team, share their lived experiences of family and domestic violence.
NTCOSS says the NT budget fails to recognise the community sector as a fundamentally important industry, that employs more people in the NT than mining, and provides services that enable people to access and participate in education, employment, economic development, health services, and family and community life.
NTCOSS CEO Deborah Di Natale said: “The NT not-for-profit sector is essential to the Territory’s economic and community resilience. We contribute $3.26 billion to the NT economy, and we are vital to the 2020 budget’s stated objectives of creating the nation’s comeback capital.”
Post-COVID-19, it has been widely acknowledged across the political spectrum that a healthy population is the essential ingredient of a healthy economy. It was therefore pleasing to see evidence of a shift towards prioritising investment in people’s health and wellbeing throughout the COVID-19 recovery in this year’s state budget. Read TasCOSS’s response and media coverage of the 2020/21 state budget here.
SACOSS welcomed the bold spending initiatives in the SA 2020 state budget. However, SACOSS notes that while there is investment in job creation, there is no overarching strategy underpinning employment initiatives. Crucially, there are too few programs that support the members of our community most impacted by COVID-19 job losses – including women, young people, migrants and refugees, and older workers. Read more here.
ACTCOSS said that unrest at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) on the night of 10 November 2020 highlights the need for urgent reforms of the ACT’s prison. ACTCOSS also condemned the federal government’s announcement of a cruel cut to income support payments at Christmas time and has called for a permanent, adequate rate of income support. ACTCOSS also marked NAIDOC Week 2020 and released its Annual Report 2019-20.
QCOSS has launched a report on the impact of COVID-19 on energy consumers, warning of an energy affordability crunch as Queenslanders face the pressure of income support payments and bill deferrals being wound back as temperatures rise during summer. The report found that 80 per cent of people who were on hardship provisions with energy providers were able to meet repayments during the pandemic due to increased income support.
The NSW government’s pre-budget announcement of a $50 million Social Sector Transformation Fund will allow organisations to adapt and modernise operations to keep up with demand. “We have argued that it is vitally important that governments step up and help the frontline workers and organisations who help so many during times of crisis, and the NSW government has acted,” NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty said. NCOSS Post Budget Event is being hosted on 26 November.
This article was contributed by ACOSS Community Hub.