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National call for urgent reversal of $1b cuts to services

Councils of Social Service (COSS) across Australia have today joined forces to call on the Federal Government to urgently reverse the damaging cuts to community services so that they can continue to support the country's most vulnerable.

Community organisations have been working in a state of uncertainty for months as these cuts have been made and foreshadowed. More information here.

Welfare Review: right questions, flawed model

Though welcoming key aspects of the McClure report released today, ACOSS said the final report of the Federal Government's commissioned review of Australia's welfare system was a missed opportunity to move to a more rational system based on people's financial need rather than decisions about ‘deservedness'.

"We congratulate Social Services Minister Scott Morrison on the release of this Report today and his commitment to further engagement with the community to inform the Government's response," said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Read Full Statement here.

ACOSS National Conference: Advancing the Common Good

Save the date: June 25-26, 2015
Venue: Australian Technology Park, Redfern, NSW

Registrations are now open for the 2015 ACOSS National Conference with the theme of ‘Advancing the Common Good'. This year's annual conference will open discussion about the ways in which we can ensure that policy reforms address poverty and inequality, and how economic growth can be both fair and inclusive.

The Keynote speaker is Linda Tirado, a media activist and journalist from the US, who brings together the experience of living in poverty and international perspectives on how living in poverty makes people feel.

Find out more about the conference and register here.

ACOSS response to PC Report on Childcare and Early Childhood Learning

ACOSS today expressed its support for the simplification of the child care system proposed in the Productivity Commission's report on Childcare and Early Childhood Learning, but stressed that greater investment was needed in the system and that low income households, including those not in paid work, must be a priority in future reform.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, "We strongly support the main recommendation of the report to combine existing child care payments into a single child-based subsidy and the proposal to increase assistance to families who need it the most. This broadly reflects our long-standing policy position."

Read Full Statement: PC Report fundamentals good but risks for low income households must be addressed.

Reprieve for vital services left in limbo by Budget cuts

ACOSS has welcomed the Minister for Social Services the Hon. Scott Morrison's announcement today to extend funding for government-funded services that were advised they had lost funding on Christmas eve, while also moving to issue funding offers to those who were successful in the recent tender round by Department of Social Services.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, "This is a major achievement for community organisations that provide vital support to people and communities across the country." Read Full Statement here.

Budget must chart a fairer path back to surplus: ACOSS

ACOSS today urged the Federal Government to focus on restoring revenue by addressing inefficient tax arrangements, rather than through spending cuts, and chart a fairer path back to surplus in its second Budget.

In its Budget submission released today, the peak community sector body has identified more than $13 billion of potential savings in the next financial year, rising to over $18 billion in 2016-17, through measures which it says restore the integrity of Australia's progressive tax system.

Find out more about ACOSS' Budget submission here.

Watch ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie video explaining ACOSS' Budget proposals to the media here.

Government urged to make a new start in 2015

Two of the nation's leading community welfare organisations today called on our nation's politicians and leaders to partner with business, welfare, community groups, and churches and charities in 2015, to address growing poverty and the country's jobs crisis, if we are to build a more prosperous, productive and fairer society.

Read full statement here.

ACOSS critical of funding cuts to community voices

ACOSS has expressed deep concern at the extensive funding cuts to community sector organisations, including to policy and advocacy work. ACOSS believes this will severely weaken the Federal Government's ability to engage with the community on the important reforms that lie ahead and deliver an inclusive growth agenda.

Read statement: Shutting down community voices will weaken Government's ability to make effective reforms.

80% of community services unable to meet demand

Monday December 8, 2014 - The largest survey of Australia's community services sector reveals that 80% of frontline agencies are unable to meet current levels of demand with the resources they have. The biggest gaps in meeting demand are in the areas of greatest community need.

The survey of almost 1,000 community service workers from around the country shows that 43% of services are simply unable to meet the needs of people coming to them for help. A further 37% can ‘almost' meet demand. Only 20% reported being able to meet demand fully.

Read Full Statement and DOWNLOAD REPORT.

2.5 million people living in poverty in Australia: ACOSS Report

Sunday 12 October 2014: ACOSS has released a new report revealing that poverty is growing in Australia with an estimated 2.5 million people or 13.9% of all people living below the internationally accepted poverty line.

The report provides the most up to date picture of poverty in the nation drawing on new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Income and Expenditure surveys for 2011-12 and previous years. It finds that 603,000 or 17.7% of all children were living in poverty in Australia.

"This is deeply disturbing and highlights the need for a national plan to tackle the scourge of poverty which diminishes us all in one of the wealthiest countries in the world," said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie launching 'Poverty in Australia 2014' report on Sunday October 12, 2014.

Read media release here | Read full report here.

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