ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Federal Budget should not miss opportunity to create a fairer future

28 March 2022

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has called on the Australian Government to use tomorrow’s budget as an opportunity to create a fairer future for people on low and moderate incomes.

Dr Emma Campbell, ACTCOSS CEO, said: “This federal budget provides an opportunity for investment that not only drives economic recovery but also reduces disadvantage and inequality. ACTCOSS calls on the Australian Government to prioritise investment that will create a fairer future for all Australians.”

ACTCOSS supports the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) federal budget priorities statement including calls for:

  • a minimum income floor in our income support system by lifting all income support payments to at least $70 a day and indexing them to wages as well as prices
  • Major investment in social housing to tackle the growing housing crisis and to create jobs
  • Investment in energy efficiency improvements for low-income homes to cut emissions, energy bills, and create thousands of local jobs; and support for emergency energy debt relief
  • better support for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples to achieve self-determination; and
  • improved support for people unemployed long-term to connect them with suitable jobs.

Dr Campbell said: “ACTCOSS is calling on the Australian Government to increase the base rate of JobSeeker Payment to at least $70 a day so everyone can cover the cost of the basics and to index payments at least twice a year in line with wage movements.

“Federal investment is urgently needed to fix the ACT’s housing crisis. The Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot shows that the ACT remains unaffordable for people on low incomes. Canberra faces a shortage of 3,000 social houses, with an over four-year wait for public housing and 1,600 people experiencing homelessness.

“Investment in social housing makes economic sense – for every million invested in social housing, around $1.3 million in total turnover is generated in the economy.

“ACTCOSS also calls on the government to address the deep and ongoing wrongs inflicted against First Nations people, through commitment to the implementation of all recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody; a constitutionally guaranteed Voice to Parliament; and a commitment to Closing the Gap.

“We also need to invest in services, supports and initiatives that can enable all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples to achieve full self-determination.

“We continue to see unacceptable rates of disadvantage among Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples in Canberra. We should be empowering communities through community-controlled organisations to make change,” Dr Campbell said.

ACTCOSS has also supported ACOSS’s call for the Federal Government to drop Stage 3 tax cuts.

Dr Campbell confirmed: “The Stage 3 tax cuts are unfair and bad economics. The cuts mainly benefit people on $100,000 or above who have less need of support from government, and only one third of them go to women.

“The best solution to ease cost of living pressures for people on low and modest incomes is to lift their incomes and ease the largest costs they face such as housing.

“This Budget is an opportunity for the Australian Government to adopt evidence-based, economically sound policies that will have a positive impact not only on people facing disadvantage, but the entire community. We call on the Australian Government to seize this opportunity,” Dr Campbell said.  

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations. Follow us @ACTCOSS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617.