CSSV is please to be amongst 64 peak bodies and community organisations that have signed a joint letter, sent by the Australian Council of Social Service on 27 April, to all parties and candidates to lift income support payments so everyone can cover the basics and invest in 25,000 social housing units each year.
As hundreds of thousands of Victorians experienced the profound inadequacy of JobSeeker payments, many for the first time, CSSV has actively contributed to a broad collective push for an Australian welfare safety net that could be lived on. The lessons from 2020 showed us that if we increased welfare income, the poorest individuals and families in our communities could live such better lives.CSSV Executive Director, Joshua Lourensz
Lourensz’s comments reflect the experience of CSSV’s member organisations and are supported by the collaborative research report Scarring effects of the pandemic economy: COVID-19’s ongoing impact on jobs, insecurity and social services in Victoria recently launched by CSSV.
With both the Coalition and ALP yet to the commit to increasing income supports, those committed to justice have come together with fresh determination to speak up on behalf of over 3 million people, including at least 750,000 children across the country experiencing poverty and inequality, every day.
The letter cites evidence that when the Federal Government temporarily doubled unemployment payments at the start of the pandemic, it halved poverty, saved over 700,000 jobs and significantly reduced rental stress and homelessness.
The joint letter calls for all parties and candidates to heed the lessons of 2020:
It calls for parties and candidates to make adequate income support and investment in social housing the key policies that the next Federal Government will implement. It specifically calls on independents to make this a key issue upon which to negotiate in forming government if there is a hung parliament.
The letter’s key asks of parties and candidates:
- Raise base rates of income support to at least $70 a day to ensure people living in poverty can cover the basics and have the resources to begin new careers, retrain and look for paid work.
- Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50% to better cover private rental, which has skyrocketed around Australia.
- Index payments in line with wages twice per year, as well as CPI (working-age payments are currently only indexed in line with CPI).
- Federal Government budget commitment to build at least 25,000 social housing properties each year.
- A National Housing Plan led by the Federal Government and developed in partnership with the states and territories.
- A National Homelessness strategy that addresses access to affordable housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and other issues driving homelessness, including inadequate income support, domestic and family violence, and poor access to mental health and other services.
A copy of the full Joint Letter and a full list of signatories is available here