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Great win! reversal of cuts to vital community legal services

ACOSS has welcomed the announcement today by the Attorney-General George Brandis to restore cuts to vital community legal services.

"This is an essential first step but only the beginning of the work the Government needs to do to repair the damage caused by $1b in funding cuts to community services across the country," said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

Read Media Release: Reversal of legal funding cuts an important first step, rest of $1B must be restored.

TAKE ACTION: ACOSS Resources for Advocacy against Community Sector Funding Cuts.

Community experts launch plan to tackle housing affordability

Peak community and housing groups today called on the Commonwealth Government to work with them in developing a national housing strategy to address the worsening housing affordability crisis in Australia.

The groups, including the Australian Council of Social Service, National Shelter, Homelessness Australia, the Community Housing Federation of Australia and the National Association of Tenant Organisations, today released ‘An Affordable Housing Reform Agenda' which outlines reform priorities to achieve an efficient and affordable housing system that strengthens productivity and participation.

Read Joint Statement: Community experts release national plan to tackle housing affordability crisis.

Download: Summary - An Affordable Housing Reform Agenda.

Download full paper: An Affordable Housing Reform Agenda.

Calls for rejection of ‘cashless’ welfare card ignored

ACOSS today rejected moves by the Federal Government to introduce trials of another iteration of income management through a ‘cashless' welfare card.

"Of all the recommendations in the Forrest Review, it is deeply disappointing that the government appears determined to adopt the Review's Healthy Welfare card proposal contrary to widely held expert advice. All the evidence to date highlights the ineffectiveness and high cost of similar income management schemes," said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

ACOSS Media Release: Widespread calls for rejection of ‘cashless’ welfare card ignored.

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.

Find out more about the conference and register 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'.

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.

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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